John Henry Newman Academy aims for excellence.

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Children enjoy silent reading outdoors at John Henry Newman Academy. Photo: Jo Duckles.

Children enjoy silent reading outdoors at John Henry Newman Academy. Photo: Jo Duckles.

OFSTED inspectors have noted major improvements at Oxford’s John Henry Newman Academy.

Their report, published just weeks after official Church schools inspectors praised the diocesan academy, has given head teacher Jackie Ranger and her team encouragement that they are on the right track. Despite the school being classified as ‘requiring improvement’ the inspectors noted the following strengths:

• Children make good progress in the Early Years Foundation Stage

• There are good relationships between adults and pupils throughout the school

• Pupils spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is promoted well

• Improvements to pupils’ behaviour are helping them to make the most of learning opportunities

• The academy trust and governors play a key role in holding leaders to account

John Henry Newman was the first primary school to become a member of the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust. The trust is working hard with leaders at the school to pave the way for major improvements.

Andrew Bevan, Chair of Governors, said: “We believe that our pupils deserve the best possible opportunities to maximise their potential. I am pleased that the inspectors have acknowledged the improvements in behaviour which show that pupils are also committed to making the most of the opportunity JHN offers. There is a good partnership between pupils, parents and carers, the staff, governors and Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust, which the report recognises. This provides a sound basis for continuing improvement with the inspirational leadership of the Principal, Jackie Ranger.”

Mrs Ranger said: “I am extremely proud to be the Principal of John Henry Newman Academy. We (pupils, parents, staff, local community partners, Governors, Diocese) are a formidable team who recognise that the pursuit of excellence not only takes time but hard work, love and courage from our whole school community. Our dedication, determination and commitment will ensure that we accomplish our vision of excellence.”

The report was published following an extremely positive inspection from the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools, the Church version of OFSTED.

The report praised Mrs Ranger for her “Christian vision and commitment, despite challenging circumstances, resulting in strong, inspirational leadership.”

After school clubs, including Samba drumming and cheer leading, as well as a Good to BE Green initiatives were praised. The Revd Margreet Armitstead, the Vicar of St Mary and St Nicholas Church in Littlemore, was praised for leading regular worship in the school.

Fiona Craig, Deputy Education Director (School Improvement) said: “It has been an absolute privilege for the trust to work with a great team of committed staff and governers who have transformed the culture of the school into a place where all stakeholders are valued, expectations are high and pupils are cared for and nurtured to help them be the very best they can be. We now have the foundations to move the school forward in terms of academic achievements.”

Anne Davey, Director of Education for the Diocese of Oxford, said: “The governors and ODST are very proud of the progress that pupils in JHN are making and the people they are becoming.

“We are delighted that everyone’s hard work has been recognised and we will continue to work closely with the school to help it develop further. We believe in the power of the Littlemore community to give its children the best chance to succeed in life and to therefore be able to make a difference to the lives of others. We are thrilled that this report acknowledges the school’s role in this.”

Mrs Ranger said the next steps were to raise standards in reading, writing and maths.

The school, Oxford Brookes and the Diocese are co-writing a leadership course for all teachers which focusses on improving teaching and learning and rising standards across the school. She said a parent partnership worker will be helping ensure parents are also equipped to support their children in the learning they do at home.




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