“The headteacher and other senior leaders have shown great commitment to improving the school and the life chances of the pupils within their community. Pupils said that the school is ‘much better’ under their leadership.“
“Relationships between teachers and pupils, and between pupils, are positive. There is generally an upbeat atmosphere for learning in classrooms.”
“Pupils have access to high-quality careers advice and guidance. A careers fair improves pupils’ knowledge of the range of opportunities that exist. Links with local employers are strong.”
“Pupils said that their school had improved and that they felt safe. They said that bullying was rare and that, if it did happen, they had confidence in their teachers to deal with the problem effectively.”
You may be aware that a team of four inspectors visited the Academy in 2017. They have now produced a report which notes the improvements that been made since Farnborough started to work closely with Rushcliffe School. Amongst these are better teaching, improved support for vulnerable pupils, valuable links with employers and more effective leadership. They also note that pupils say the school is “much better” and that they feel safe. Parents will be reassured by their description of the school as “generally calm and well ordered” and that “the many pupils that spoke to inspectors were bright, polite and articulate”. The last report for the old Farnborough School included far fewer positive comments and placed it in special measures.
However, whilst the report includes many positive comments it also expresses concerns about pupil attendance, the number of exclusions and the disappointing GCSE results. I share these concerns. Whilst attendance has improved from 2014 it is still too low. We have had to exclude too many pupils. GCSE results have not improved as quickly as we hoped they would despite improvements in teaching.
The inspectors decided that whilst the academy has improved in many ways it still has some serious weaknesses related to attendance, the number of exclusions and GCSE results. They acknowledged that the senior leadership team is already making further improvements and visits will take place to ensure Farnborough is on track to be judged “good”.
We have a capable and committed staff. They will be involved in more work to improve attendance, reduce exclusions and increase achievement levels. I know that you will be supportive of this work because you, like me, want the best possible education for your children. The inspection says that we aren’t there yet. I agree. Things are much better but there is still work to do.