Thinking Of Becoming A Governor

Find out more...

Tollbar Trust 'Restores Faith' In Rural Academy As Ofsted Rates It 'Good'

Somercotes Academy Senior Management and staff celebrate the 'Good' Ofsted rating. They are: (l-r) Martin Brown, Deputy Chief Executive of Tollbar MAT; Amber Bradley, Vice Principal, Somercotes Academy; Bill Porter, Governor and Administrator, Somercotes Academy; Susan Milson, Senior Administrator; Ross Middleton, Custodian; Frances Green, Principal, Somercotes Academy; Emyr Hughes-Jones, Vice Principal; Caroline Yates, former Principal, Somercotes Academy and now Principal, Tollbar Academy; David Hampson, Chief Executive of TMAT; and Ben French, Assistant Principal, Somercotes Academy.


The intervention of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust has "restored parents and students faith at a rural school," says Ofsted, who today rated Somercotes Academy "good" just three years after it joined the Trust.

The previous school (Birkbeck Community School and Arts College) was rated "inadequate" by Ofsted in 2014, and was re-opened by Tollbar Multi Academy Trust as Somercotes Academy on November 1 2015.

The first Ofsted inspection of the new Academy took place last month with the results published today. It says the determined, positive and effective leadership of the Trust, the quality of teaching, the behaviour of pupils, and the positive ethos and culture of the school have led to a swift rise in the number of pupils.

Inspectors say the investment from Tollbar Multi Academy Trust has been "instrumental in improving the school environment, the security of the site and the recruitment of high-quality staff."

The report continues: "Rapid improvements in the quality of teaching and learning and the effectiveness of pastoral care at the school have restored the faith of parents within the rural community. As a consequence, the number of pupils attending the school is rising quickly.

Extensive praise for the leadership of the new Academy forms a large section of the report, which says: "The support provided by governors and Trust leaders has been instrumental in securing improvements at the school. The leadership of the curriculum is good. Leaders and governors have ensured that it now meets the needs and aspirations of all pupils.

"The determined leadership of the recently appointed Principal, who is well supported by senior leaders, governors and Trust leaders, has brought about rapid improvements. A clear vision for the future of the school has been communicated effectively to staff and the wider community.

"The positive ethos and culture of the school are underpinned by a core set of values which are well understood by staff and pupils. Leaders have been successful in creating a culture of high expectations in a supportive climate, and this has generated a positive morale amongst the staff. Leaders maintain a visible presence around the school and in lessons.

"Governors care deeply about the school and are ambitious for the future.

"The quality of teaching is good. Leaders' evaluation of the quality of teaching and of pupils' personal development and behaviour is accurate and informed by robust processes for checking the quality of the school's provision. The leadership of the curriculum is effective.

"Pupils who spoke with inspectors were very positive about their learning experiences overall. The Trust has ensured that all lessons are taught by subject specialists, bringing about a greater consistency in teaching. Some of the teaching seen by inspectors was exceptionally strong.

"Leaders have improved the way they set targets for pupils and check their progress against these targets. The progress of current pupils is improving across all subjects, including in those subjects that have been weaker in the past."

Pupils are described by inspectors as well-behaved, polite and courteous. They add that pupils wear their uniforms - which were introduced by the Trust - with pride.

The report continues: "Pastoral support for pupils is effective and has brought about improvements in pupils' behaviour and attendance. The programme for pupils' personal, social and health education is well-coordinated and is complemented by services to support pupils' emotional and mental well-being.

"Pupils with special educational needs (SEND) are well supported and are beginning to make stronger progress as a result. Additional adult support is effectively deployed to ensure that all pupils with SEND are well supported in their learning. They help to reshape learning activities and questions so that these pupils make better progress.

"The arrangements for safeguarding pupils are effective and leaders have established a culture of vigilance in school. Pupils say that they feel safe and happy. Parents strongly agree.

David Hampson, Chief Executive of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, said today: "When I addressed the parents/carers immediately after the school joined the Trust I promised them I would ensure that the new Somercotes Academy would be a good school for their children. I am overjoyed this has now been delivered in such a short time.

"Over the three years since the inception of the new Academy, the Trust has made a significant annual financial investment, refurbished buildings, introduced new teaching resources, appointed quality staff and overseen an ongoing staff training programme. This report demonstrates the effectiveness of our Multi Academy Trust model, at raising the quality of teaching and learning as well as the aspirations and life opportunities for students.

"Somercotes Academy students now have an educational establishment that they, their parents and the community can be proud of."

Tollbar Multi Academy Trust Chairman Philip Bond said: "The report stands as a tribute to the hard work of staff and students. Inspectors comment that much of the success of the Academy is down to the contributions of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust. Their judgement recognises the support given by the Trust and compliments the contributions made by governors and the senior management at the Academy. As Chair, I am proud of the progress made in such a short time."

Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell, Executive Councillor for Children's Services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "I'm delighted that Somercotes Academy is now rated 'good'. Tollbar Trust have made great strides in turning things round with the support of all associated with the school. Ofsted have confirmed the significant progress that has been made and parents can be confident that Somercotes Academy will provide good quality education for their children."

Celebrating the 'Good' Ofsted rating are: (L-r) Frances Green, Principal; Manisha Bains (Year 10); Amber Bradley (Vice Principal); Rosie Lee (Year 7); Kieran Kirk (Year 11); Karis Smith (Year 8); Ben French, Assistant Principal; Tazz Wootton (Year 9); Emyr Hughes-Jones, Vice Principal; and Caroline Yates, Former Principal and now Tollbar Academy Principal.

Tollbar MAT Chairman

Philip Bond

Tollbar MAT Chief Executive

David J Hampson OBE, BSc, BA.