A Weymouth school should have been placed into special measures after a disastrous Ofsted report, but instead will not have to face another inspection for three years.

The Wey Valley School was branded inadequate in every category after an inspection in May this year. 

A report stated that pupils were at risk and inspectors were of the opinion that the school required special measures because it was “failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education.”

As well as the overall effectiveness of the school, the quality of teaching, effectiveness of leadership and outcomes for pupils were all rated inadequate.

The report also stated that “pupils have no understanding of British values,” while weak teaching at the school is unchallenged by middle leaders and “attendance is significantly below average.”

However, because Wey Valley became a member of Ambitions Academies Trust on June 1, the damning report will not be acted on by Ofsted. 

This is because the unique reference number used to identify Wey Valley has changed since it was converted into an academy, creating a new school.

A spokesperson for the education watchdog said: “Once a school becomes an academy it is legally a new school. 

“The first inspection of new schools, including academies, will usually take place within three years of opening.

“In most instances, we won’t select new schools for a first inspection until they are in their third year of operation.

However, we do have the power to inspect a school at any time if we have concerns.”
Wey Valley made the decision to become an academy in a bid to correct the downward trajectory of the school, after several inspections since 2012 have rated the school as ‘requires improvement’.

The school is one of two Weymouth-based secondary schools that joined Ambitions on June 1, along with All Saints.

Sian Thomas, CEO of Ambitions, said: “The governors of the school made a decision last July to move to a multi academy trust as they could see from a downward trend of results that the school was vulnerable and needed to be part of an organisation that could support and lead the necessary school improvement.

“We understand that for parents the Ofsted report raises real concerns regards the quality of education currently in place; we have always made it clear to parents that we will ensure standards rise quickly once the school joined the Trust. 

“We had already begun to tackle many of the areas that Ofsted identified as being inadequate, the report didn’t tell us anything that we were not already aware of; now that the school is officially part of Ambitions we can now hold leaders to account and ensure the standards rise rapidly.

We are resolute in our determination to ensure the journey for Wey Valley to good and outstanding is rapid but also sustainable.”

Ambitions held a meeting for parents on June 11, the day the latest report was published, to go through the next steps regards school improvement. 

There is now a presentation on the Wey Valley website which goes through the steps Ambitions has said it will take to ensure that all areas of the school improve.

Headteacher announces departure

WEY Valley’s interim headteacher has announced her departure.

Carol Watson was due to retire at the end of the year after joining the school 20 years ago. She said: “It is the right time for me to step aside so that the new leadership team can begin the journey of ensuring in all areas the school can deliver the best quality of education that all the young people deserve.

"There are so many things I will miss, but would like to say to all the pupils and parents and staff that have worked and been at the school what a joy it has been to get to know you all, and wish each and everyone of you success in the future."

Sarah Bell has been appointed as interim principal while Ambitions goes through a formal recruitment process.

Sian Thomas, CEO of Ambitions, said: “Mrs Bell was formerly the Vice Principal at St Aldhelm’s Academy in Poole – a school that was in a similar place to Wey Valley when the Trust took this school over. 

“Mrs Bell is an outstanding leader who has all the experience that is needed to be able to implement all the necessary structures, systems and processes that Ambitions have used in other schools to great effect.”