Open Academy to remain with Trust after remarkable turnaround

May 16, 2023

In a remarkable turnaround over just two terms, Open Academy, Norwich, are pleased to report that is has moved swiftly from the inadequate judgement it received from its last inspection in June 2022 to being classed as good in all areas by Ofsted in March 2023.

As a result of this outcome, the Department for Education (DfE) has decided not to proceed with its previously announced proposal to re-broker Open Academy to another trust.

Oliver Burwood said: “We share in the delight and pride of all at Open Academy in Ofsted’s praise of the academy, and I would like to pay credit to all the staff and to the governing body for the remarkable work they do every single day. The plaudits are richly deserved because the academy’s leaders, under Jon’s determined leadership, have worked tirelessly to address the concerns identified at the previous inspection.

“The Trust provided additional support and challenge to ensure that the academy was able to demonstrate that it is a good school. The DfE has decided not to proceed with its previously announced proposal to re-broker Open Academy to another trust. We look forward, therefore, to helping the Open go from strength to strength.”

Mr Jon Ford, who has been Principal of Open Academy for five years, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to show the rapid improvements demanded by the inspectors at the last inspection. We are proudly an inclusive Academy which welcomes the full diverse range of students and their abilities. Our aim is to be a beacon of hope in inclusive education and it is clear from our report that we are beginning to realise that aim.”

He added: “The staff have been tremendous in responding to every challenge and leaders in the academy have worked purposefully with great skill and attention to detail to ensure our systems and processes are up to scratch.

“Our trust, DNEAT, has been fantastic in helping us to improve rapidly, providing the expertise, support and capacity to allow us to respond to every challenge. I am also indebted to the governing body whose unwavering support and steely determination and challenge have allowed the Academy to respond systematically and robustly around all categories of judgement.”

Mr Ford explained: “In many ways, all schools require improvement and it should be borne in mind that much of the ground work for this good judgement was underway for years prior to even the last inspection. It is however gratifying that we have been able to maintain our ethos of an inclusive community based on Christian values, yet which welcomes all faiths and none. I am heartened that an academy with such high levels of both social need and children with SEND is able to meet the exacting standards of a Good Ofsted report.”

He continued: “I was particularly pleased to read that in the inspectors’ view, the Academy ‘is an inclusive school.’ Pupils are tolerant of difference and supportive of peers who find things difficult. Pupils of all abilities have their individual needs supported in lessons. Careful adaptations are made by teachers to enable this to happen.”