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Academy's turnaround impresses Schools’ Minister

Schools’ Minister Nick Gibb today praised a Walsall academy for its dramatic turnaround in less than 18 months - one of the quickest ever achieved.

Ormiston Shelfield's dramatic improvement down to great teaching and focus on traditional curriculum

Schools’ Minister Nick Gibb today praised a Walsall academy for its dramatic turnaround in less than 18 months - one of the quickest ever achieved.

The secondary school was placed in special measures by Ofsted in January 2014.

But after Ormiston Academies Trust became its sponsor, and under the leadership of Principal Paula Arrowsmith, Ormiston Shelfield Community Academy made rapid improvements and inspectors rated it as "Good" in May 2015.

Mr Gibb visited Ormiston Shelfield today, alongside local MP Wendy Morton, to see for himself how the school had made such significant improvements. They were taken on a tour of the academy, seeing different year groups in English, Spanish, history and science lessons, as well as the library.

Schools’ Minister Nick Gibb said:

"I was very impressed by the behaviour and ethos of students at Ormiston Shelfield Community Academy, and it is clear from the leadership and teaching that the staff are determined to continue to raise academic standards further.

"I had a hugely enjoyable visit and met and chatted with some very engaging and ambitious students."

Miss Arrowsmith, who was appointed Principal in late 2013, just before the Ofsted inspection, and Ormiston Academies Trust chief executive Professor Toby Salt, said the improvements at the school had been down to a number of key factors.

These include:

- an uncompromising drive to improve learning and teaching, including the recruitment of high-quality teachers

- a move away from ICT-based learning to a more traditional curriculum with an emphasis on key skills, such as improving extended writing

- creating a positive culture linked to the academy’s values: Aspiration, Positivity, Responsibility and Achievement

- all staff taking responsibility for student achievement, having high aspirations and tackling the challenges positively as a team
- changes to governance including a progress board and Interim Executive Board, and rigorously monitoring progress against academy targets - providing challenge and support

Principal Paula Arrowsmith said:

"It was a real pleasure to be able to host Nick Gibb and Wendy Morton here today - we are very proud of all our students and staff, and it was wonderful for them to have such praise.

"At Ormiston Shelfield, in common with all academies in the Ormiston family, we have the highest standards. We know that every student can succeed, and it is that determination that has enabled us to make such great improvements in a short space of time."

Ormiston Academies Trust chief executive Professor Toby Salt said:

"At all Ormiston schools we have a relentless focus to ensure that our students have the same opportunities as their more economically advantaged peers, and Ormiston Shelfield epitomises that."