Expectations up at Doncaster academy as Ofsted rate it as ‘good’

Pupils at Grange Lane Academy
Pupils at Grange Lane Academy

An improving Doncaster school has been rated as ‘good’ in its first Ofsted inspection since it converted to become an academy.

Inspectors who visited Grange Lane Infant Academy, Rossington, rated the school as good across the board but flagged up attendance at the school as below average.

The report, by a team led by inspector Lindsay Hall, said school leaders had an accurate understanding of the school’s strengths and what needed to be improved.

Ms Hall said: “The headteacher is clearly focused on improving the school’s effectiveness and has raised expectations across the school.

“This has led to a marked rise in the quality of teaching and pupils’ achievement. However, opportunities to share the best practice of outstanding teaching have been missed.”

Children in the early years make a good start and develop a love of learning through interesting activities that help them to learn effectively, both in the classroom and outdoors.

Teachers use high quality questioning to reinforce pupils’ learning and to develop language and vocabulary.

Standards were rising because leaders ensured activities catered for the needs of all pupils, including those who found learning difficult and those who are disadvantaged.

Parents who the inspectors spoke to expressed very positive views of the school. They spoke warmly to an inspector of the good care and support pupils receive.

The report said pupils were kind to each other and behaviour was good.

They were keen to get on with their work in lessons and played well together at break and lunchtime.

The curriculum engages pupils and equips them with the skills and knowledge for life in modern Britain.

The whole-school environment is calm and very well maintained, said the report. There are high quality displays of pupils’ work throughout the school. Everyone takes a pride in their surroundings.

Pupils feel safe and secure in school and parents are confident their children are well looked after.

Governors provide good level of support and challenge to school leaders and are effective in questioning senior leaders about the quality of teaching and pupils’ achievement.

But the report added there were six factors stopping the school from being categorised as outstanding.

Not all teaching ensured all pupils’ progress was rapid in every class and planned activities were not always suitably demanding for all groups of pupils.

Handwriting in pupils’ books was not consistently good enough and achievement in writing was not as high as in reading and maths, the report said.

Not all opportunities were taken for best practice to be fully shared, as a means of improving teaching further, and attendance was below average.