'Many strengths and reasons to feel proud'

March 03 2017

BRISTOL Metropolitan Academy is celebrating another excellent Ofsted report.


BRISTOL Metropolitan Academy is celebrating another excellent Ofsted report.

Inspectors found that  the Fishponds secondary school had kept up the good standards from its previous report and had increased the number of features rated outstanding.

"Bristol Metropolitan Academy is a school where all young people receive the support they need to thrive and succeed. As a result, students go on to achieve outcomes that are consistently outstanding," the education watchdog said.

Inspectors who visited in January praised the inspiring and aspirational ethos and the passionate belief of principal Sally Apps and her team that all students are entitled to the best. 

“The principal and senior leaders have created a culture in which all pupils, regardless of background, ability or individual circumstances are equally valued,” the report said. “The principal is an inspiring, dynamic and clear-sighted leader. She has only the highest expectations of herself, other staff and pupils. She has established a culture of ‘no excuses’, where all are encouraged to aim high, even when faced with difficulty.”

Leadership and management and pupil outcomes were both graded as outstanding. Lead inspector Steve Smith highlighted the excellent progress made by students during their five years at the school, which has 863 students.

It said young people of  all abilities were able to move on to worthwhile courses or employment at the age of 16.

Bristol Met, part of the Cabot Learning Federation, was in the top three of the latest progress tables in the South West, and Mr Smith singled out the school's success in supporting lower ability students and disadvantaged students to gain good grades in GCSE English and Maths. He also noted that good progress was made across a range of subjects, thanks to “a strong work ethic, resilience and a commitment to self-improvement.” “By the time pupils leave the school, they are well-rounded individuals. This is because of the safe school environment that has enabled them to develop into respectful, considerate and tolerant young people.”

The school's curriculum was described as strength of the school, providing a rich and broad diet of skills and knowledge. “Pupils enjoy their learning because they follow courses that meet their needs and appeal to their interests.” Teaching was said to be supportive, aspirational and challenging and to take account of various academic and pastoral needs, building confidence and resilience, especially for the high proportion of disadvantaged students and those new to speaking English, “The school's work to promote pupils' personal development and welfare is outstanding,” the report said.

“Leaders have focused heavily on developing a school ethos that celebrates cultural difference, emphasises common humanity and highlights what it is that binds people together.”

The inspectors said the extensive support and challenge from the Cabot Learning Federation through the academy council, the executive principal Dan Nicholls and the chief executive Steve Taylor was a powerful resource for the school.

“Although there are many strengths and numerous reasons to feel proud of the school's work, the [academy council] chair knows that work towards further improvement always remains,” the report said.

Mrs Apps said: “All those associated with Bristol Met will know that it is a unique and exciting place; for so many important areas to be recognised as leading practice is just recognition of the hard work done by school staff, volunteers, students and their families. So many ‘outstanding’ judgements on crucial areas - personal development, wellbeing, student outcomes and school leadership - are just recognition of exceptional work, consistently delivered and above all, always with students at heart.”

Steve Taylor, chief executive officer of the Cabot federation, said: “This judgement comes on the back of an outstanding period for Bristol Met. Its journey from the lowest to the highest performing secondary school in the city over a period of seven years says much about the exceptional skill, passion and commitment of the staff, and it is wonderful to see this recognised and reflected in what inspectors have written. The pupils make consistently high progress and, knowing the ambition and focus of those leading the academy, we can expect even greater things in the future.”