'Dramatic' improvements at Fishponds school

December 03 2019
'Dramatic' improvements at Fishponds school

A FISHPONDS school has been praised for making “brave decisions” following an Ofsted report last year saying it required improvement.

The government education watchdog criticised the curriculum at Fishponds Church of England Academy School and said it needed to improve in four out of five categories, including quality of teaching and outcomes for pupils.

At the time head teacher Debbie Coker said she was confident the school could get back on track.

Now the school has been praised in a church report for implementing a forward-thinking curriculum which has led to “dramatic” improvements at the school.

This came to light in a SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) report which has been published following a visit by inspector Mike Graham in October.

SIAMS inspect every Church of England and Methodist school in the country every four years, in addition to inspections from Ofsted, with the purpose of judging how well each is making a positive difference within its community. 

Mr Graham spent a day talking with children, watching collective worship, RE learning and meeting with staff and parents. 

He described the impact made by the school on the community as “remarkable”, giving an overall good judgement with an excellent  rating for its effectiveness of religious education.

He said: “Brave decisions were made in the light of Ofsted’s ‘requires improvement’ verdict in 2018 to pursue an holistic and innovative curriculum…these decisions have been fully justified in that the progress measures from 2019 show dramatic improvements, with national expectations being met and in some cases exceeded.”

The report said the school had set about examining and removing barriers, with the inclusion team leading the way.

The efforts made by everyone to ensure that each child has the best possible welcome and every possible barrier to learning removed are remarkable,” the report said.

It gives the relatively high proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) very special care and support, and their progress is good overall and in many respects outstanding. Indeed, lives are being transformed through this exemplary work.”

The school's “exemplary” inclusion was among the report's key findings which also included “inspired and committed” Christian leadership from Mrs Coker.

The report went on to say: “Relationships at Fishponds are exceptionally loving, caring and supportive. Forgiveness and reconciliation are at the heart of the behaviour policy, and exclusions are extremely rare.” The report also noted that attendance is now above 95 per cent and rising.

Mrs Coker said: “It is so refreshing to have an inspection that looks at the wider life of a school, celebrating the important work schools do around inclusion and the development of values for life that enable children and families to live well and flourish.

The report clearly outlines what makes our school special. I am grateful not only for our amazing staff team who make this happen on a daily basis but am also thankful to our fantastic army of volunteers - parents, grandparents and members of our local churches - who also serve our children and help to make Fishponds the special place it is.”