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Kenton School Sees Rapid Improvement and Ambitious Vision

Updated: Jun 27

Shrewd investment by the trust has increased leadership capacity - Ofsted

Students learning mechanics at Kenton School

The Trust vision is:

‘Students are at the centre of everything we do. Through collaboration, every aspect of our work is of high quality. Our academies deliver an ambitious and inclusive curriculum. This enables all students to have high expectations and to excel academically and socially.’

‘The vision is beginning to be realised‘ – Ofsted This was the verdict of Ofsted inspectors after they recently visited Kenton School.

Reporting that ‘leaders are ambitious for pupils’ and ‘want pupils to be aspirational and achieve well’ they went on to award a judgment of ‘good’ for personal development and a ‘good’ for leadership and management while Kenton’s sixth form provision also maintained its ‘good’ judgment.

The inspection took place across 13th and 14th September. Following this report, the board of trustees was pleased that Ofsted could see the many improvements underway since its last visit in November 2021.

Noting that despite its large size, ‘the school has a community feel,’ ‘pupils and staff get on well,’ ‘pupils feel safe in school’ and ‘staff are highly visible around the school’, these are statements which trustees believe will combine to take Kenton School to a judgment of Good across every measure in the near future.

Mention of the ‘shrewd investment’ made by the trust to increase leadership capacity as well as the arrival of new trust leadership ‘which has seen the rate of improvement gather pace’ were also deemed very positive comments.

Ofsted noted that leadership throughout the school has strengthened, that staff are proud to work at the school and through the various programmes of training now offered, are more skilled and able to provide pupils with a better education than formerly.

Sixth form students continue to benefit from a rich educational experience with a wide offer of academic and vocational courses to choose from. This finding is underpinned by the encouraging set of A-level results achieved in the summer exams.

The personal development offer in school was also cited as being broad and well-led, with a programme that is well designed and offers weekly lessons that help develop pupils’ understanding of important issues in society. Careers advice was also seen to have improved. The atmosphere in the school is ‘calm and orderly.’

Safeguarding arrangements were found to be effective and the report acknowledged leaders’ understanding of the community and their ability to identify emerging risks that pupils may face - awareness which is reinforced by learning in personal development programmes.

With 1826 students aged 11 to 18 and a sixth form of 269 students, Kenton School educates a diverse range of pupils from a broad range of ethnic groups and is one of the largest secondary schools in the region.

Since 2016 it has suffered from a history of poor and inconsistent teaching, leadership and academic achievement, which has resulted in its current RI (requires improvement) judgment, although its 16-19 education offer has been rated as ‘good’ throughout.

Dr Therese Quincey, Chair of the Trust Board, commented:

“The Trust’s strategic investment in leadership has brought about rapid improvement in a short period of time. Staff and students are buying in, resulting in a synergy that can only impact on future development. We are ambitious to ensure every Ofsted category is ‘Good’ and are confident that with current leadership, this is achievable.”

Following this latest inspection, Ian Kershaw, CEO, a highly experienced educationist, who has been leading the trust since January this year, also believes that the direction of travel is now looking more positive, saying the report is ‘the best RI report I have read’ and agrees with the comments made by Ofsted about what now needs to be done to bring about further improvements. He said:

“We have begun to take several big strides forward but are aware there is still work to do around ensuring the improvements we are making are sustained - particularly given that some inconsistencies remain.

“We have recently introduced systems that are improving attendance and are monitoring this work closely to ensure it continues.

“On the positive side, we were delighted with the comments made about the school having a community feel, which we fully endorse, and the fact that both pupils and staff recognise the improvements we have been making.

“We have such an amazing bunch of students here and a great school community. They deserve, and we are committed to giving them, the very best opportunities and education.

“Our recent rebranding which incorporates the line - achievement, students and leaders matter -underlines our commitment to leadership and the importance we place on it. Ofsted acknowledged this too, saying that leadership throughout the school has strengthened and leaders are taking staff with them.

“Through our robust academy improvement plan, we are aiming to leave behind our RI judgment permanently when Ofsted next visits.

“On the whole, I think we are in a good place, and we will continue to press ahead with further improvements in the knowledge we are now on the right track.”

Dr Therese Quincey added: “The Ofsted experience reassured Trustees that we have taken the right decisions, in the right order, which is beginning to impact.

“Children and young people enjoy their experience at Kenton School. We are grateful for the evidence provided by Trust and school leadership, school staff and students to allow Inspectors to draw the positive conclusions they did. It is now our priority to address the gaps to ensure the school rapidly continues on its improvement trajectory.”


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