Doncaster school on track for getting out of special measures

Rebecca Staples, Danum Academy Headteacher.
Rebecca Staples, Danum Academy Headteacher.

One of Doncaster’s biggest schools is making progress towards being taken out of special measures, say inspectors.

Danum Academy, on Armthorpe Road, Armthorpe Road, was put into special measures after an inspection last September revealed a string of issues.

Four inspectors returned last month for another inspection.

And government inspector Tanya Stuart has now written to headteacher Rebecca Staples, to tell her how they view the school’s progress.

She said: “The academy is making reasonable progress towards the removal of special measures.”

During last month’s inspection, Ms Stuart and her team observed 48 parts of lessons, 15 of which were seen together with senior and middle leaders.

Ms Stuart said that, since the last monitoring visit in January 2015, there had been changes to staffing in various departments.

This was because of staff taking maternity leave and absence because of illness.

A number of staff were leaving the academy at the end of August.

She said a higher proportion of pupils across the academy were now making expected progress, particularly in mathematics and English.

As a result of the increased progress being made, levels of achievement were rising.

A higher proportion of girls were making the progress expected of them.

Although boys are making more progress than they were, there is still a gap between the progress made by girls and boys.

The academy’s own statistics predicted a higher proportion of students would leave Year 11 in 2015 with five A* to C GCSE grades, including English and maths, and the school used the data to identify students who needed extra support and to provide it quickly.

Ms Stuart also said that, in the majority of lessons, teachers now showed higher expectations of their pupils.

In many lessons, the pupils were rising to these higher expectations.

Teachers are now setting more homework, which Ms Stuart said was supporting pupils’ learning more effectively.

She said the proportion of pupils who persistently miss lessons was decreasing steadily and was now much closer to the national average.

The academy has worked with parents and students to reduce the proportion of pupils who were persistently absent and the strategies have had a positive impact.

The proportion of fixed-term exclusions has fallen considerably and is now below the national average.

She said senior leaders of the academy, and in particular the headteacher, had put in place a range of well-thought-through strategies to improve the quality of education, based on accurate self-evaluation and understanding the pupils.

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