Swaffham academy is praised for ‘rapid improvement’

Nicholas Hamond Academy ENGANL00120121125231119
Nicholas Hamond Academy ENGANL00120121125231119

Leaders of a Swaffham secondary school say they want to get even better, despite the glowing praise contained in a new inspection report.

Ofsted inspectors rated the Nicholas Hamond Academy as good in a report published on Tuesday, two years after the school, then known as Hamond’s High was put into special measures.

Lead inspector Bill Stoneham reported: “This is a rapidly improving school.”

And the academy’s principal, Cheryl Hill, said: “We are thrilled that this latest inspection recognises the exemplary work of everyone involved in our academy.

“However, this is not the end of the challenge and together we are determined to be judged outstanding when Ofsted return.”

Inspectors observed more than 20 lessons during a two-day visit to the school last month and held talks with staff, governors and students.

The report revealed that, though students’ attainment is generally well below average when they arrive, all groups make good progress during their time at the academy.

And GCSE pass rates at the A* to C grades, which more than doubled to 46 per cent last year, are predicted to rise again this summer.

Teaching was described as being “at least good”, with some being classed as outstanding, while the “thoughtful and innovative range” of learning opportunities offered to students was also praised.

Sixth form provision was said to be developing well and the monitoring of work by senior staff, governors and academy sponsors, the Academies Transformation Trust (ATT) was also praised.

And the inspectors paid particular tribute to Ms Hill, adding: “Much of the improvement can be attributed to the decisive and determined leadership provided by the principal.”

However, the report advised that more consistent marking and feedback on work was needed to help the academy become outstanding.

Mr Stoneham also called for students to be given more opportunities to write extended pieces to develop their writing skills.