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Remarkable Turnaround As Ofsted Rates New Louth Academy 'Good'

Students and staff celebrate the result of Louth Academy’s first ever Ofsted inspection. They are (l-r) Vincent Jiang (Year 9), Matthew McEwan (Year 11), Willow French (Year 9), Philip Dickinson (Louth Academy Principal), Martin Brown (TMAT Chief Executive), Philip Bond, (Louth Academy Chair of Governors),  Joe Chapman (Year 9), Lily Cron (Year 9) and Erin Ames (Year 10).

Louth Academy has achieved an across-the-board rating of “Good” following its first ever inspection by Ofsted. The result comes less than four years after two failing schools on the verge of closure were taken over by Tollbar Multi Academy Trust and merged to create the new Academy.

In its report, Ofsted says the Academy’s “overall effectiveness, quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management” are all good.

Inspectors praised the Academy’s leaders for having “high expectations of pupils” and for “developing pupils’ aspirations.” They say leaders have “prioritised improving pupils’ literacy and enhancing pupils’ love of reading.” They highlighted the “positive relationships between staff and pupils,” and said pupils felt that “many lessons challenged them and that the school is helping them to become more independent.” Inspectors said “staff care about pupils’ education and well-being.”

The report says pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well supported in lessons. “Teachers ensure that these pupils with SEND can access the same learning and achieve as well as their peers.”

Louth Academy opened in 2018 after joining Tollbar Multi Academy Trust. The school sits on two sites in the town; the Lower Site, for students in Years 7 and 8, is on North Holme Road, and the Upper site, for students in Years 9-11, is on Monks’ Dyke Road,  It currently has a total of 811 students. The report says: “Although the Academy is situated on two separate campuses, both staff and pupils agree that it feels like one school.” 

Tollbar Multi Academy Trust has invested heavily in the Academy in the last three and a half years, completely refurbishing both sites to provide students with the best possible environment in which to learn, and the Ofsted report shows they are reaping the benefits.

The report praises pupils’ behaviour and says they “show respectful attitudes.” It says staff and pupils agree that behaviour at the Academy is far better than it used to be. Pupils also “value the new reward system, which allows them to exchange reward points for stationery, sports equipment and reading books.”

It says leaders have developed a “broad and ambitious curriculum and use the local context to bring it to life.” For example, learning to descale Grimsby fish in Food Technology.”

The report says leaders have recognised that many pupils do not opt to study a language at Key Stage 4 and have worked closely with their feeder primary school to develop pupils’ love of language earlier. It says more pupils are now opting to study a Modern Foreign Language.

It praises teachers’ “good subject knowledge” and says “leaders ensure that teachers are trained to teach using approaches that help pupils know and remember more.”

“Leaders are on a mission to develop well-rounded global citizens and there are opportunities for pupils to develop their leadership skills and independence.”

The report adds: “Trustees and Governors hold leaders to account through effective governance. Leaders are accurate in their evaluations of the school. They are on a journey of what leaders call ‘continuous improvement’.”

Philip Dickinson, Principal of the Academy, said staff and students are thrilled by the report, which highlights the enormous amount of work that has gone into turning around the two former schools to provide students with the education they deserve.

“This is a huge achievement for the staff, students and the wider community of Louth.  We are absolutely determined to continue encouraging and driving an aspirational education for all students at Louth Academy.  This is the start of something special for the Academy and the community. With the continued support of the Trust we will build on our current success and give every child the secondary education they deserve.”

Martin Brown, Chief Executive of TMAT, said: “The transformation of the two non-selective schools in Louth is remarkable. The Trust took on the two schools, both of which were in difficulty. This has been one of our most challenging projects as the schools had to be combined to create one Academy and keep the momentum of improvement during the pandemic.  The Ofsted judgement is testament to the students' positive attitudes, the determination of staff to succeed and the commitment of the Principal and other leaders to ensure the Academy is successful.”  

Philip Bond said: “As Chair of Governors at Louth Academy and Chair of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, I am delighted with the Ofsted report which highlights the great progress made by our staff and students. Louth now has a comprehensive school that the community can be truly proud of.” 

Louth Academy has been fully refurbished. One of the most recent additions is a brand new Library.

Classrooms provide bright, encouraging environments in which to learn.

The report says students are engaged in lessons.

Ofsted says Louth Academy teachers have good subject knowledge.

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Louth Academy

Philip C Dickinson
BA (Hons) MA PGCE.