Fashion firm’s pioneering Alfreton school told to improve by Ofsted

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An Alfreton school has been ordered to improve by Ofsted following the first inspection since it was taken over by a nearby fashion business.

The David Nieper Academy, on Grange Street, was rated as Requires Improvement—the second lowest Ofsted rating—on all five inspection criteria.

Headteacher Kathryn Hobbs said: “After only 30 months as an academy, taking over from an Inadequate school, we are very encouraged by the positive feedback on our improvement journey and pleased inspectors moved the school up a level from its previous inspection.

“The report has confirmed our position as a developing school with many strengths and, as we are aware, areas which require further work. The report corresponded with the academy’s self evaluation so there were no unexpected issues raised.”

Despite concerns, inspectors did praise the headteacher, who was found to be working “tirelessly and diligently” to improve the school.

They also noted: “The personal development and welfare of pupils is a strong feature of the school. Pupils are safe and cared for well.

“Leaders have worked with determination to engage parents and carers, who are positive about the school’s work and the improvements made.”

The school points to the fact that its year seven intake is oversubscribed for the first time in 20 years as evidence that parents are confident in its direction, and that the move to a new building and an influx of new staff at all levels will lead to further improvements once bedded in.

For all the positives, inspectors found issues in the consistency of teaching and learning, with strengths in some subjects but leaders failing to ensure pupils made good progress and teachers setting low expectations.

Attendance levels were found to be improving but still below average, especially for students with special educational needs and disabilities.

The report also notes that senior and middle leadership has not always been quick enough to respond where improvements were necessary, or accurate enough in judging the impact of their actions.

The same was said to be true of trustees and governors, whose assessment of impact was not methodical enough to drive progress.

Chair of trustees Christopher Nieper said: “After only two and a half years, the academy now has a very strong foundation.

“We welcome the constructive feedback from the inspectors, which will help us to achieve our goal of becoming a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ school at the next inspection in 30 months.”

To read the full report, go to http://tiny.cc/wvaa8y.