Devizes academy heading for brighter future

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: From left, teaching assistant Dawn Ward, PSA co-chairman Debbie Morris, the Rev Jonathan Triffitt and PSA secretary Dawn Gregory with pupils                 (VS323) By Vicky Scipio From left, teaching assistant Dawn Ward, PSA co-chairman Debbie Morris, the Rev Jonathan Triffitt and PSA secretary Dawn Gregory with pupils (VS323) By Vicky Scipio

Southbroom vicar the Rev Jonathan Triffitt says Southbroom St James Academy is improving and this will be reflected in a future Ofsted inspection.

The school, previously Southbroom Junior School, was judged inadequate by Ofsted inspectors in January 2013, down from satisfactory in May 2011.

Inspectors said the school was not meeting the Government’s standard for minimum expectations for pupils’ attainment and progress and called for improvements in the quality of teaching, raising achievement of pupils in English and maths and improving the behaviour and safety of pupils.

School governors decided the school needed to become an academy to improve. They appointed Christine Folker as interim headteacher and Mr Triffitt, chairman of governors, said her improvement plan was working well.

He said: “The school has had monitoring visits by Ofsted and at our most recent meeting before Easter we heard the school is making excellent progress.

“If we were inspected tomorrow we would no longer be a special measures school. We are still requiring improvement and we have no doubt that by the next Ofsted inspection we are heading towards being a good school and, ultimately, outstanding.”

The school became an academy last December and is sponsored by Salisbury Diocese Multi Academy Trust.

The church of England school already had links with St James’ Church, Southbroom, and the change of name reflects that.

Mr Triffitt said: “As Southbroom Junior School the name didn’t have a Christian distinctiveness to it. We wanted to communicate something to the wider community that something new is happening and moving away from some of the challenges of the past.”

Last Friday the school held a celebration event and invited parents and the wider community. Year 6 children led tours of the school and each class contributed with poetry recitals, displays of work, songs, dancing and choral speaking.

Mrs Folker said: “The event was a welcome opportunity to invite parents and visitors to see St James with fresh eyes. The academy is a rapidly improving junior school.”

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