The Taunton Academy: “Ambitious” and “Passionate”

Ofsted inspectors have recognised The Taunton Academy as being “ambitious to raise standards and expectations”, following an inspection at the start of term. In a report published this week they also describe the newly appointed Acting Headteacher, Lisa Webber, as “passionate about improving the experience for every pupil.” 

While the academy is still rated under the category “requires improvement”, it was assessed as “good” for personal development. The inspectors said: “Spirituality is central to the school’s values. Visiting pastors support pupils and there are opportunities for reflection. The careers programme spans over five years. Pupils take part in work experience and learn about college courses and apprenticeships. Pupils feel that they are prepared well for making choices when they leave school. The personal, social and health education curriculum teaches pupils about relationships effectively.”

Responding to the report, Lisa Webber said: “This is the first time we have been inspected under the new Ofsted inspection framework. Although the ‘requires improvement’ outcome was the same as previous inspections, the school Ofsted looked at this time was very different. Our results have leapt up this year, with a 15% increase in students achieving a good pass in both GCSE English and Maths. We are confident we are moving on a speedy trajectory towards even better outcomes for all our young people. 

“We accept and will swiftly act on Ofsted’s comments about how we could move closer to a judgement of ‘good’, but that isn’t our main driver. Our primary motivation is for all our students to receive a happy, challenging and rewarding education which prepares them for the adult world ahead.”

The inspectors found that the overall experience of students at the academy is good. The report said: “The Taunton Academy is a welcoming school. As pupils arrive, teachers greet them to help them start the day well. The relationship between staff and pupils is positive. There is a high presence of pastoral staff around the school. Pupils are well supported.

Other highlights mentioned in the report include extra curricular activities. “Pupils attend a range of extra-curricular clubs which include sports, arts and drama. For example, all Year 7 pupils experience the forest school. The school library is well-attended. Pupils play chess, read or use computers. Pupils have the opportunity for leadership roles, such as becoming well-being ambassadors.

“Pupils say they know who they can talk to if they have any concerns. Leaders have made pupil well-being a priority. There are key workers, who support vulnerable pupils. Pupils learn how to keep themselves safe online. Leaders ensure pupils learn how to identify the risks they may experience.”

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