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Castle Continues to be GOOD - Ofsted March 2018

Cmat was delighted to learn that its Mow Cop primary school, Castle Academy, was once again confirmed as a GOOD school by Ofsted, following a ‘Section 8’ one-day inspection in March 2018. A total of three inspectors visited the school at the end of the spring term, experiencing many aspects of everyday school life and also observing children’s behaviour both in and out of the classroom. 

The Ofsted team met with Headteacher, Jill Mason and other senior school leaders, the Chair and members of the Local Governing Body and the Chief Executive Officer of Cmat, David Hermitt. They spoke personally with parents at the beginning of the school day along with taking into account some forty two online responses from Parent View and another thirty nine from Ofsted’s free-text service. Inspectors visited all the classes throughout the day, looked at work produced by the children and talked to them about their learning. They also spoke formally and informally with pupils individually and in groups at different points during the visit. A range of school documentation, including Castle’s self-evaluation of its performance, the School Development Plan and safeguarding information was also scrutinised by the inspectors.

The subsequent report positively addressed all aspects of the primary school, which, it commended, had maintained the GOOD quality of education since the last inspection despite changes in staffing, leadership and the conversion to academy status. The report also highlighted other areas where the school excelled, with positive feedback such as:

  • ‘Your vision is to create a school where pupils respect each other and develop a love of learning. This vision is brought to life by the rich curriculum and the creativity and commitment of staff. Pupil’s positive attitudes to learning are a testimony to your success.’
  • ‘[Pupils] say that teachers ‘make learning real’. Parents and carers agree. They are overwhelmingly positive.’
  • ‘This comment, from a parent, is typical of many: “Knowing that our children are in an environment that is caring and supportive, as well as ambitions for academic achievement, means a great deal to us.”’
  • ‘You have changed the way that Mathematics is taught to ensure that pupils have frequent opportunities to reason mathematically and apply their knowledge to practical problems. Pupils say that they “love maths because it is active and is about real life.”’
  • ‘Governors have a comprehensive picture of the school’s strengths and the areas that need further development. They are ambitions for the school to improve even further.’
  • ‘You ensure that a strong safeguarding culture is at the heart of the school. Pupils demonstrate a good awareness of online safety.’
  • Staff are fully aware of what to do if they have and [safeguarding] concerns.’

Along with highlighting the next steps for the school, the report also acknowledged the changes and further improvements made since the December 2013 Ofsted visit and also the year-on-year improvement in areas such as pupils’ attendance, which is ‘currently above the national average for primary schools’.

David Hermitt, Cmat CEO, commented on the outcome of the Ofsted visit:

"We were delighted that Castle has once again proved itself to be a GOOD school, ensuring the continuation of our GOOD track record across all three Cmat academies. Black Firs and Congleton High School were both confirmed to be GOOD schools in their last inspections, which took place in April 2017 and January 2018 respectively. As a multi-academy trust, we strive to ensure that we are able to offer consistently high standards of education, guidance, pastoral care and school management across all of our member academies and this latest Ofsted inspection is proof that together we are succeeding.”

The full report can be viewed on the Castle website at http://www.castleprimary.co.uk/serve_file/249158

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