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Friday, 25 June 2021 15:37

Copperfield Academy gains Good Ofsted Report after Nearly Fifteen Years of Failure

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I have been following the misfortunes of Copperfield Academy in Northfleet for more than the fourteen years this website and its predecessor have been operating. It was previously called Dover Road Primary School and its pupils were consistently let down by  Kent County Council from 2001 onwards, as outlined in my first article about the school, written in 2011.  Matters did not improve when it became an academy sponsored by REAch2 Academy Trust in 2005, with seven headteachers in five years, and a second failed Ofsted, by which time I was amongst a number in favour of the school being removed from REAch2.

Copperfield Academy  for Website

A new high-powered Executive Headteacher was brought in to sort the mess in September 2018, having previously been responsible forREAch2 schools in East Anglia. I anticipated he was there for a quick fix but matters have improved greatly, with staffing becoming stable after a high turnover in previous years,  five increasingly positive Ofsted monitoring visits, and now a ‘Good’ Ofsted Inspection outcome in May this year, one of the first full inspections since lockdown was eased.

The Report opens with

What is it like to attend this school? Leaders’ mantra, ‘children are our priority’, is front and centre at this diverse and multicultural school. Leaders’ actions to improve the school over time have been successful. Pupils, parents and carers, and staff appreciate the many positive changes that leaders have introduced. Pupils are proud of their school and their work. They listen intently to their teachers. They are well behaved and relish all that the school has to offer. Pupils enjoy their lessons and benefit from a well-rounded education. For example, they visit France, take part in yoga lessons, and learn how to use different mediums in their art lessons. Pupils say that bullying and incidents of poor behaviour are rare. They learn and play harmoniously together. Leaders have ensured that pupils have a good understanding of equalities. Pupils say that, ‘difference is welcomed at our school and we stand up for each other.’ Copperfield Academy is a vibrant school. Classrooms are calm and purposeful places, where pupils learn in a safe atmosphere. Leaders are determined that every pupil’s experience, regardless of their individual needs, is a positive and successful one. As a result, pupils flourish and thrive.

This is a complete reversal of the situation that was described in the Special Measures Ofsted just over two years ago, soon after Simon Wood, the Executive Headteacher arrived and before he had time to reorganise the school. Once again, it shows the critical importance of good leadership. As with the parents and staff I am sure, I hope he stays long enough to see the school’s previous reputation buried.

Although the number of pupils offered places at Copperfield Academy for September has fallen sharply following the opening of the new Springhead Park Primary less than a mile away, there is still a good increase in the number choosing it on their application forms showing the school’s growing popularity, as explained below.

For those interested in such matters
It was as long ago as 2011, that KCC foolishly decided to increase the Planned Admission Number of the school from 60 to 90, rather than insist developers finance a new school in the area where Springhead Park now is. This was a decision of the District Education Officer at the time, Simon Webb. Since then the school has struggled with a large number of Local Authority Allocations each year (children who didn’t apply for the school but were placed there by KCC because there was nowhere else for them to go).  To accommodate these, several mobile classrooms were installed to cater for the increase over the years, the two factors contributing to the problems in the school. Application numbers reached a peak in 2020, when 42 LAA children were given the school, out of a total of 71 children offered places. Now with the school improving its image, there are 34 first choices for September (up from 22 in 2020), and 43 choosing the school overall (29 in 2020) despite the impact of Springhead Park Primary. The REAch2 Trust has wisely reduced the school’s  PAN back to 60 this year, so the school should now be able to look forward confidently.    
Read 182 times Last modified on Monday, 28 June 2021 06:02

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