Bedford school needs to improve says latest Ofsted inspection - but principal is disappointed with findings

He says pandemic had huge impact on students

By Clare Turner
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 5:15 pm

Inspectors have criticised Lincroft Academy and given it an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’.

Ofsted visited the Oakley school in Station Road twice in February and said the quality of education and behaviours and attitudes requires improvements too.

They did, however, say personal development and leadership and management were good.

Lincroft Academy

But Andrew Hencken, school principal, was disheartened with the report.

He said: “We are pleased the Ofsted inspectors recognised a number of positive aspects within the report, however, we are disappointed with the overall outcome.

“We will be taking the identified areas for improvement very seriously but we do feel that the report does not sufficiently record the whole picture, particularly around the areas of student behaviour and quality of education.

“We do not believe Ofsted fully recognise the impact of the pandemic on how students are coping with the return to school.”

However, inspectors said: “Some pupils say their learning is disrupted by poor behaviour. Pupils told inspectors that, while they feel safe, a minority of pupils can be silly around the school. Their poor behaviour impacts on others.

“This was a concern for parents, and a significant minority would not recommend the school.

“Leaders have started to tackle pupils’ concerns but this work has been slowed by the pandemic.”

Mr Hencken added: “Also, we feel that the excellent progress students are making was not reflected within the report and that this will be reflected in this summer’s positive exam results.

“Lincroft Academy is emerging from a period of transition from a middle school to a secondary school and a recent change of operating trust, Meridian Trust.

"We have challenges with the quality of and condition of some of the school accommodation, however we know there are areas we need to continue to improve on with our teaching and education and these will be our main focus.

“As we implement a range of new systems and innovations working with students, staff and parents, we look forward to swiftly welcoming Ofsted back into the school so they can see the actions we have taken. This will allow the opportunity to secure the Ofsted rating we know the school deserves.”

Other key findings include:

Assessment is not always clearly linked to the knowledge taught. While there are subjects in the school where pupils are making good progress, these inconsistencies are preventing the curriculum from having the positive impact it should have Pupils who struggle with reading are identified early and get effective support to catch up to their peers

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities are well supported

Leaders have high expectations of pupils’ behaviour. While many pupils are well behaved, a minority disrupt pupils’ learning. Pupils’ behaviour still needs to improve

Richard Spencer, executive principal at Meridian Trust, said: “Lincroft Academy has been a valued member of Meridian Trust for just over two terms now.

“Over this time we have got to know and work with a strong, proud school community. The outcome of this Ofsted inspection is one we are naturally disappointed with, but the trust and the school leadership have a plan already in place to bring about swift, positive change in the highlighted areas to improve.

“The school building is outdated, and we feel has not been given full attention by key local agencies over recent years to finance its modernisation.

“Therefore, as a trust we will be taking the lead by investing an initial £1.5million in immediate improvements to the site. These will include a new dining area, activity studio and play areas alongside refurbished toilets and classrooms.”