School told to improve three times since 2015 praised by Ofsted

City Academy Norwich

Ofsted has praised progress to address failings at City Academy Norwich. - Credit: Submitted

Inspectors have said a Norwich high school that has received three successive ‘requires improvement’ Ofsted reports is taking “effective action” to address failings despite the pandemic. 

City Academy Norwich, which has held Ofsted's second lowest judgement since March 2015, was subject to a remote monitoring inspection carried out in March.

Inspectors said the school had “made progress on the areas for improvement identified in the previous inspection report” including adopting new curriculum plans, but added there was “more still to do”. 

The last full Ofsted report in 2019 had highlighted that poor attitudes to learning among some pupils led to low-level disruption in lessons, while high levels of persistent absence and fixed-term exclusions were said to be affecting pupils’ progress.

Limitations in literacy were said to be a barrier to learning for many pupils, especially boys, disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and disabilities.

City Academy Norwich

City Academy Norwich has received three successive ‘requires improvement’ Ofsted reports. - Credit: Archant

In a report following March’s remote visit, Ofsted inspector Andrew Hemmings said the school was implementing plans to improve the teaching of literacy, but that the partial closure of schools due to the Covid pandemic had delayed training for staff.

He added: “At the time of the previous inspection, too many pupils were absent regularly. You succeeded in increasing levels of attendance prior to the first national lockdown, but were disappointed by the number of pupils who participated in remote education when the school was only partially open.”

During the most recent lockdown the school in Bluebell Road, which has around 650 pupils, altered its timetable and improved teacher interaction with families to boost remote learning.

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“Despite these actions, some pupils did not engage well enough with their learning,” said Mr Hemmings.

“Teachers are now helping pupils who missed online lessons to catch up in school. However, a small number of pupils who did not attend remote lessons have also not returned to school. These pupils are mostly in Years 10 and 11. They are falling further behind.”

City Academy Norwich headteacher Paul Collin.

City Academy Norwich headteacher Paul Collin. - Credit: Bohunt Education Trust

Headteacher Paul Collin said: “We are very pleased with the latest Ofsted report’s findings, which recognise the effective action we have taken to deliver strong improvements across the board to support our continued positive trajectory. 

“These findings are testament to the hard work and commitment of our brilliant staff, students, parent body and wider school community. 

“Whilst there is, of course, more to do – and we are working tirelessly to drive further improvements across all areas – we are proud of our achievements so far and look forward to delivering more for our school community as part of this next exciting and ambitious chapter.”

City Academy Norwich.

Ofsted has praised progress to address failings at City Academy Norwich. - Credit: Bohunt Education Trust

The school is in the process of joining the Bohunt Education Trust (BET), which has been providing support to the school since September 2017.

Neil Strowger, trust leader of Bohunt Education Trust, said: “We are pleased with the findings of the latest Ofsted report, which praised the support given by BET in helping CAN to deliver these improved outcomes. 

“We look forward to continuing to work together in the months ahead to deliver first-class opportunities for CAN’s students.”

The latest Ofsted report said the school had started to adopt new curriculum plans provided by BET and that the trust was “an important partner to the school” and was working closely with school leaders to improve standards.