Ofsted praises Plymouth school's behaviour despite being told to improve

Plympton Academy, Plymouth -Credit:Matt Gilley/Plymouth Live
Plympton Academy, Plymouth -Credit:Matt Gilley/Plymouth Live

Ofsted has praised a school in Plymouth for the children's behaviour and curriculum. Despite an overall rating of 'requires improvement,' staff and pupils at Plympton Academy now enjoy a ‘broad and ambitious curriculum’ in a ‘calm and orderly atmosphere’ according to Ofsted inspectors.

The academy was inspected in March 2024 and rated ‘Good’ for both personal development and behaviour and attitudes. The academy says this demonstrates the effective improvements that have been made since its inspection in 2020 when it only received ‘Good’ in one area.

And the academy says the improvements it has achieved in behaviour and attitudes are a very positive step forward, providing the foundation on which to secure long-term improvements in other areas. Ofsted praised the Academy’s strengths, including its celebration of equality and diversity and the enrichment opportunities it provides its pupils. The report also commended the school for raising expectations of behaviour and enhancing the curriculum.

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The inspector stated that pupils, including those within the Sixth Form, receive useful careers education information, advice and guidance. This helps them to make informed decisions about their future. Inspectors said the following:

  • The school has raised its expectations of pupils’ achievements and conduct, and pupils now follow routines well and behave well in lessons

  • The school has made improvements to the curriculum which is now broad and ambitious

  • Sixth Form study programmes are tailored to pupils' needs and aspirations

  • The needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are increasingly being met

  • Pupils benefit from a wide range of extracurricular activities, including performing arts, sports and residential trips. The school removes barriers to ensure all pupils can take part in these opportunities

  • Pupils benefit from the personal, social and health education programme where they learn about healthy relationships and keeping themselves safe online

  • The school has strengthened its work to engage with parents.

The report also outlined areas for improvement, including ensuring teaching is consistent across all subjects, particularly in Sixth Form and reading, and providing further support for pupils with SEND. The academy said it is dedicated to addressing these and has a robust improvement plan in place.

The academy said it has already strengthened its Quality Assurance processes to ensure pupils continue to make effective progress and completed a review of its assessments. The academy added that it is working with trust experts to enhance its reading provision and providing additional staff training to support pupils in achieving excellence across all subjects. The report stated, “school and trust leaders have rightly focused on making improvements to the quality of education.”

Jay Davenport, Regional Director at the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, said: "Whilst the recent inspection rating was Requires Improvement overall, we are pleased that our behaviour and attitudes and personal development provision has been recognised as Good. The Academy is on a transformation journey so it’s really encouraging to see the hard work of both staff and pupils identified and shared in key areas of this report.

“We believe in inspiring a culture of success for all and are dedicated to continuing to further improve our provision. We are already working towards this as part of our ongoing school improvement plan to ensure every pupil is equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to thrive in the modern world.”