Here is the full Ofsted report for Bridgemary School

Effectiveness of leadership and management - Good

Quality of teaching, learning and assessment - Good

Personal development, behaviour and welfare - Good

Outcomes for pupils - Good

Overall effectiveness at previous inspection - Inadequate

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils:

  • This is a good academy
  • The headteacher’s excellent leadership has led to rapid improvement in all aspects of the academy since the last inspection.
  • The academy has the capacity to improve further.
  • Leaders and governors have maintained a relentless and determined focus on improving standards.
  • Improving the quality of teaching has been at the centre of the academy’s work. Teaching is now consistently good.
  • Teachers assess pupils’ progress accurately and set work that is well matched to their needs. As a result, pupils make good and sometimes better progress across the academy.
  • Pupils’ behaviour in lessons and around the academy is good. Pupils are polite and respectful. They value learning and take pride in their work and the academy.
  • Leaders promote the welfare and safety of pupils successfully. Pupils say that they feel safe and well cared for.
  • Gaps in achievement between different groups of pupils currently in the academy and with other pupils nationally have either closed or are closing rapidly.
  • The academy makes a strong contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. It provides many opportunities for pupils to take part in sporting, musical and charitable activities.

It is not yet an outstanding academy because:

  • Sometimes, when teachers are teaching their second subject, gaps in their knowledge mean pupils’ misconceptions are not addressed effectively enough or pupils are not challenged sufficiently.
  • Pupils’ numeracy skills are not developed well enough.
  • A small number of pupils, including those who are disadvantaged, are absent on a regular basis.

What does the academy need to do to improve further?

  • Further improve the quality of teaching by: – further developing the subject knowledge of teachers who teach their second subject, so pupils’ misunderstandings are addressed successfully and pupils are given sufficient challenge to enable them to make the progress of which they are capable – ensuring pupils’ numeracy skills are as well developed across the curriculum as their literacy skills.
  • Continue to improve the attendance of pupils who are regularly absent from the academy.

Inspection judgements

Effectiveness of leadership and management is good

The headteacher’s exceptional leadership has led to rapid improvements in all aspects of the academy’s work. She is driven by a strong sense of moral purpose that pupils at the academy should be given every opportunity to do their best and that nothing is off limits to them. This approach has transformed the academy and her impact is recognised by staff, pupils and parents. As one member of staff explained, ‘this is a different school’.

Senior leaders have a significant impact on continually improving the quality of teaching. They provide highly effective challenge and support for teachers. Major weaknesses in teaching identified in the last inspection report have been eradicated. Consequently, pupils’ progress has accelerated rapidly.

Teachers and leaders are held to account effectively for their contribution to pupils’ achievement because clearly defined roles, responsibilities and structures are in place.

Subject and pastoral leaders are an enthusiastic and determined team and they effectively drive improvements in their areas. Leaders have created a collaborative and supportive culture that has led to improved teaching and learning across the academy, through opportunities for staff to engage with coaching, mentoring and professional dialogue.

Leaders work purposefully towards the ambitious targets in the academy’s well-considered plan. They have successfully tackled the areas for improvement noted at the last inspection and continue to check regularly that these developments are maintained.

Disadvantaged pupils’ strong achievement demonstrates that leaders spend pupil premium funding (additional government funding given to schools for looked after children and those known to be eligible for free school meals) effectively on a range of activities and support and strategies to support those eligible. This ensures there is no discrimination.

The curriculum is creative, well balanced and features a broad range of subject choices that support the aspirations, needs and interests of pupils of different abilities. Crucially, leaders continue to evaluate and develop the curriculum as pupils’ needs change. The academy prepares pupils well for life in modern Britain, for example all year groups have recently taken part in ‘values conferences’ to examine what underpins British culture.

The development of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural skills is a strength of the academy’s work. The academy’s key values represented by the ‘5Rs’ of rights, responsibility, rewards, respect and relationships are threaded through its work and are frequently referenced through assemblies, lessons and displays around the site.

The academy’s ‘LEAP’ programme of activities on Thursday afternoons offers pupils diverse choices such as ‘30-minute Shakespeare’ and ‘mindfulness’. Pupils value these sessions because they are able to work in mixed year groups and they appreciate the contribution the programme makes to their skills and knowledge.

Academy leaders have made very good use of the effective support provided by other local schools. These productive working relationships have led to better teaching and leadership in a range of subjects. Increasingly, academy staff are sharing their experience and practice with colleagues from other schools as they become more confident and skilled.

The Kemnal Trust have provided effective support and challenge for the academy over a sustained period of time. In particular, the executive headteacher has acted as a highly skilled and critical mentor to the leadership team. His exacting standards have helped to ensure the academy maintains its high aspirations. Additionally, the trust have brokered valuable support from Thornden School and Havant Academy, in particular for the effective development of leaders.

The small number of pupils who are educated off-site benefit from a broader and more vocational curriculum. Their progress, welfare and safety are monitored closely by the academy.

The governance of the academy

Governance is good. Through the skilled leadership of the chair, governors are more frequently asking challenging questions of academy leaders. They have an increasingly strong understanding of performance information, helped by valuable training by the executive headteacher. Governors do not rely on what leaders tell them and their regular visits to the academy enable them to check for themselves aspects of the academy’s work, for example in relation to improving behaviour.

Governors share leaders’ ambitions for the academy; they view actions being taken now as building blocks to raising standards further, beyond the removal of special measures.

Governors ensure that leaders and teachers are only rewarded for securing high standards.

The governing body fulfils its statutory duties, including those related to safeguarding, effectively.

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Statutory requirements are met and staff receive regular training in child protection and know what they should do if they have concerns. The designated safeguarding leader works closely with the local authority and external agencies such as the police to ensure that the academy is aware of potential local risks for pupils. Leaders use these links effectively to update staff and the curriculum, for example through the inclusion of the dangers of child sexual exploitation in the tutorial programme.

Quality of teaching, learning and assessment is good

Teachers know their pupils well and carefully plan lessons to meet their needs. Teachers use accurate and detailed information about pupils’ achievement to provide them with appropriate additional support and challenge, which helps pupils to make good and sometimes better progress.

Teachers skilfully use a wide range of strategies to design and deliver stimulating and creative lessons. As a result, pupils are interested in and enthusiastic about their learning. For example, in a Year 10 drama lesson, pupils worked together effectively using recordings of events from 9/11 to create a thought-provoking piece about people’s personal experiences of that day.

Staff have benefited from a wide range of bespoke training and support. They have worked with passion and commitment since the last inspection to improve their teaching. Leaders have ensured staff have opportunities to share and develop their practice and to support each other to improve. Staff have embraced these opportunities and risen to the challenge. As one teacher explained to the inspector, ‘coming here has made me feel like I want to teach again’.

Relationships between pupils and teachers are good. Pupils have confidence in their teachers to help them gain the skills and knowledge they need to do their best.

Teachers follow the academy’s marking policy rigorously. Pupils receive frequent, detailed and helpful feedback about their progress that they use effectively to tackle future pieces of work. For example, in a Year 7 mathematics lesson, several pupils referred to previous work in their books to help them solve more difficult problems about angles. Leaders ensure that teachers’ judgements are accurate, including through work with other schools.

Generally, teachers use their good subject knowledge to ask challenging questions that make pupils think carefully and more deeply. Teachers use their answers to spot and quickly address any misconceptions. Sometimes, when teachers are teaching their second subject, gaps in teachers’ knowledge mean these misunderstandings are not picked up or pupils are not challenged sufficiently.

Parents are well informed about their children’s progress and the work of the academy through regular reports, parents’ evenings and comprehensive newsletters. Two parental forums give parents an effective channel to voice their feedback and ideas, for example recent changes to the academy’s homework policy reflect the work of one of these groups.

Leaders have made the improvement of pupils’ literacy skills a key priority. As a result, teachers frequently highlight the use of subject-specific words, make learning spellings part of homework and correct pupils’ spelling and grammatical errors. This means that pupils are better able to access the curriculum and make the progress seen. Pupils’ numeracy skills are not as well developed. Personal development, behaviour and welfare is good Personal development and welfare  The academy’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is good.

Pupils are confident and enthusiastic learners. As a result, they are happy to question each other and their teachers to check their understanding.

Staff work hard to ensure that pupils understand how to stay physically, emotionally and mentally healthy. Pastoral support staff, for example those who work in the ‘Link Centre’, provide high-quality additional support to pupils who are especially vulnerable for a range of reasons, so that they are able to access learning and make good progress.

Pupils told inspectors the academy was a safe place to be. Staff and parents agree. Pupils are confident that staff would help them if they had concerns. Pupils say that bullying is rare, but when it happens it is dealt with swiftly and effectively by staff.

Leaders ensure that pupils have a good understanding of the potential dangers of mobile technologies, social media and the internet. Pupils’ awareness of potential dangers are effectively developed and reinforced as they get older through activities in tutor time, visits by outside speakers and the assembly programme.

Pupils take pride in their appearance, their work and the academy environment, which is litter- and graffiti-free.

The small number of pupils who are educated off-site benefit from a broader and more vocational curriculum. Their progress, welfare and safety are monitored closely by the academy.

Careers advice is effective and pupils in Year 11 talk knowledgeably about the range of opportunities open to them at the age of 16. Leaders have made raising aspirations among pupils a priority. A recent ‘enterprising women’ event organised by the academy allowed pupils to hear from successful women from a range of careers.


The behaviour of pupils is good.

Pupils are considerate, well mannered and respectful. Their conduct around the academy is good, so there is a calm and purposeful atmosphere which is focused on teaching and learning.

Behaviour has significantly improved since the last inspection. This is a direct result of improvements in teaching and the new system of sanctions and rewards. These processes are clearly understood by the whole academy community and are applied consistently and firmly by staff.

Pupils work hard and are keen to earn rewards, for example when senior members of staff visit lessons ‘star trekking’, to identify and reward pupils who have made the best progress in recent lessons.

The academy’s records show that incidents of poor behaviour and exclusions have significantly reduced. As a result, the isolation room that was in place at the last inspection is no longer in use.

Attendance is in line with the national average. While the proportion of pupils who are persistently absent, including those who are disadvantaged, has reduced as a result of effective monitoring and support, a small minority of pupils continue to be absent too often.

Outcomes for pupils are good

The academy was judged by inspectors to require special measures to help it to improve in October 2014. At the time, standards were too low. Published information for 2015 gives a mixed picture as teaching was still not consistently good. During this inspection, judgements on achievement were reached by looking at progress in pupils’ books since September 2015 and the academy’s own information about pupils’ progress.

Pupils’ progress across subjects and year groups is improving rapidly and is now good overall.

The progress of disadvantaged pupils is now similar to or better than that of their classmates and other pupils nationally. This is because the quality of teaching has improved overall and the support these pupils receive is well matched to their needs.

Pupils who have special educational needs or disability benefit from well-planned teaching and high-quality support. Their progress is carefully monitored and if they fall behind swift action is taken to provide effective help. As a result, these pupils are making good progress.

Pupils who attend courses away from the academy make similar progress to their classmates. Regular communication with providers helps leaders to check pupils’ progress.

Pupils read widely in tutor time and outside lessons. The use of the academy library has noticeably increased. A wide range of reading programmes has helped to improve pupils’ reading skills significantly.

In the last three years, all pupils leaving the academy have gone on to further education, training or employment.

The most-able pupils make similar progress to their classmates. As a result of improvements in teaching, leaders expect a much greater proportion of pupils to achieve the highest grades in their GCSE examinations this summer.