Burgess Hill Academy celebrates ‘good’ Ofsted rating

The Burgess Hill Academy is celebrating after receiving a ‘good’ rating from the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).

Burgess Hill Academy students celebrating the positive Ofsted rating
Burgess Hill Academy students celebrating the positive Ofsted rating

The school in Station Road was formerly Oakmeeds Community College, which was rated by Ofsted as ‘inadequate’ in 2014 and ‘requires improvement’ in 2015.

This inspection was the first since the academy opened in September 2016, as one of 15 Sussex schools that make up the University of Brighton Academies Trust.

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Ofsted noted: “The principal [Jon Francies] has worked tirelessly to create an ambitious culture, characterised by raised expectations, improved standards and strong pastoral care. His compelling vision of a school at the heart of the community is shared and promoted vigorously by staff, pupils and parents.”

The positive Ofsted findings also acknowledge a clear culture where: “Pupils’ well-being and safety have an extremely high priority in the school. Pupils are kind to each other and respectful and are valuable members of their community, taking part in a wide range of fundraising and local events.”

Staff, the report found, felt valued, with one staff survey respondent stating: “It has been a breath of fresh air to be encouraged to do what we do best.”

The Burgess Hill Academy principal Jon Francies said: “I am proud of this assessment and to lead a talented and well qualified staff who hold a firm belief in all of our students’ abilities to achieve. We are committed to ensuring that every child will leave with the qualifications, enrichment experiences and employability skills they need for life beyond The Burgess Hill Academy. Furthermore, we encourage students to take part in the many and varied extra-curricular opportunities on offer.”

Ofsted commended the University of Brighton Academies Trust and the academy’s Local Board in providing: “Rigorous oversight of standards, safeguarding and finances. School leaders benefit from good-quality guidance given by key staff from the multi-academy Trust. The school’s rapid progress is a direct result of the support and challenge given to leaders by the trust.”

The Ofsted inspectors said pupils’ progress in English and maths and a range of other subejcts was in line with or better than seen nationally in 2018.

They found pupils were well prepared for their next steps and leaders had acted with determination to bring about significant improvements in quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

Staff help pupils to be resilient and resourceful and relationships between staff and pupils were described as cordial and warm.

Pupils in all year groups display very positive attitudes to their school and their learning and seize the many opportunities the school provides for them to develop their interests and aptitudes.

The report calls for further improvements to ensure quality of teaching, learning and assessment across the school is consistently strong in all subjects by sharing existing effective practice more widely.

Inspectors also want to see action to diminish the remaining differences in rates of progress between disadvantaged pupils and other pupils in the school, and to strengthen the curriculum and teaching arrangements for PSHE so that pupils are more fully prepared for life in modern Britain.

Dr John Smith, chief executive for University of Brighton Academies Trust, said: “This result is confirmation that both The Burgess Hill Academy and the University of Brighton Academies Trust are meeting our ambitions to deliver excellent education and improve the lives of children across Sussex.”