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Carew Academy is Outstanding

Students, staff and families at Carew Academy are celebrating the result of their Ofsted inspection, in which the school was rated ‘Outstanding’ in all categories.

Carew Academy is a special academy for students aged 7-19 with a wide range of ability levels and additional learning needs, including complex needs. The school is part of Orchard Hill College Academy Trust (OHCAT).   

Principal, Mr Rob Watkins, said: ‘I am delighted with the outcome of the inspection. Students thrive at Carew Academy because they know we have high expectations and we want them to do well. I have an amazing team and we all share the same vision, we want our students to be well educated, happy, confident and independent.’

During the two-day inspection in January, inspectors met students, staff, governors and the CEO of OHCAT, Mr John Prior. They carried out formal and informal meetings with a broad range of children who proudly told inspectors, ‘This school is amazing’, a sentiment echoed throughout the inspection. They also carried out lesson visits and reviewed students’ work taking a keen interest in English, reading, science, art and design, humanities and PSHE.

The report praised the leadership and management of the school stating, ‘The headteacher and senior team lead by example. Their energy and vision have helped the school go from strength to strength. Staff, governors and families share leaders’ high aspirations.

 Staff were also highly commended for working ‘exceptionally well with families and external agencies’ creating strong partnerships that have ‘forged a school where all pupils excel’, ‘for many it is the first time they have been successful at school’.

Inspectors were also impressed by the high quality of education, noting, ‘Leaders and staff understand what helps students to be successful. They make ambitious choices about what students’ study and all subjects are planned carefully. Leaders and staff make sure that students achieve highly in all subjects. Excellent off-site courses provide further opportunities.’

After spending time with students and observing teaching and learning, the report stated that, ‘Staff are passionate about meeting students’ needs’ at Carew.  Students are taught a wide range of vocabulary, which they use in their oral and written work. This positively impacts their ability to express their ideas well and show the depth of their knowledge.

The report credited the school’s approach to personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education and the way it underpins everything the school does. It commented that, ‘Personal development is exceptional, from a young age, staff encourage students to take on responsibilities. High-quality therapies help students to manage their behaviour and feelings. Students behave very well in lessons.

Inspectors were particularly impressed by student’s keenness to take advantage of everything the school offers, from creative arts projects and sports to debating and animation. Older students benefit from industry work placements. All of these experiences help them to learn and apply new skills.

The report also noted that the high-quality careers education provided gives students comprehensive information on their future choices.

A very proud principal concluded: “Every single member of our school community deserves praise for what they have contributed to making Carew Academy an ‘Outstanding’ school. Our students are remarkable young people.”

This is a very exciting and pivotal moment in the lives of St Dominic’s, Brantridge and Grafham Grange schools.  Academy conversion under the sponsorship of Orchard Hill College Academy Trust will help secure their futures and, no doubt, lead to better outcomes for pupils and students, families and carers, staff and all stakeholders.

Ken Cowdery, Chair of Governors

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