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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

‘Close learning gaps’, watchdog warns academy

FURNESS Academy needs to take urgent action to stop students underachieving, an education watchdog says.

OFSTED has released an update this week following a re-visit to the Barrow academy that was previously labelled as ‘inadequate’.

The re-inspection report, released on November 12, showed Furness Academy is “making satisfactory progress” in its efforts to come into line with national standards.

However, there is still a need to “urgently close the gaps in learning”.

The issues found during the initial inspection, on January 25 to January 26, centred around failings in the mathematics department.

The department has taken steps to bring the academy into line with national standards through booster classes and improvements in the quality of teaching, the report said.

However, the report states: “While there is some evidence to show that students are beginning to make better progress in mathematics, data reveals that significant areas of underachievement remain.”

The report continues: “The proportion of Year 11 students who gained five A* to C GCSE passes including English and mathematics in this summer’s exams fell short of the minimum floor standard for attainment set by the government.”

In August, Furness Academy saw 35 per cent of students reach this pass rate.

This meant the academy failed to meet the government’s 40 per cent minimum target and put them in the bottom five Cumbrian schools.

The academy’s principal, Douglas Blackledge, remained positive that the improvement will continue.

He said: "Continuing to improve the quality of provision and achievement in mathematics remains our number one priority.”

It was “pleasing” the report had “endorsed” the actions the academy had taken so far, he added.

The subject leader for maths during the time the academy was found to be underachieving has since left the position.

A spokesperson for Furness Academy said: “We would not like to comment on if he resigned because of the Ofsted report.”

Fiona Marsden, who was the assistant subject leader at the time of the original report, was promoted to the vacant post in March.

Mr Blackledge said: "It is pleasing that our on-going action plan was recognised as being good, and that our progress against our 'Notice to Improve' targets was deemed to be satisfactory.

“We must maintain this over the coming weeks, months and years to ensure progress in maths is maintained."

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