|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Outstanding|
|Inspection Date||24 November 2010|
|Address||Forty Avenue, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 9JR|
|Religious Character||Does Not Apply|
|Number of Pupils||1561 (47% boys 53% girls)|
|Number of Pupils per Teacher||14.5|
|Academy Sponsor||Ark Schools|
|Percentage Free School Meals||16%|
|Percentage English is Not First Language||35.2%|
Information about the school
Ark Academy opened in September 2008 to Reception children. The academy now has pupils up to Year 2 in the primary phase. The brand new, purpose-built learning environment for all phases was opened ready for the first intake of Year 7 in September 2010. The academy nursery also opened in September 2010. The academy and staffing levels are growing rapidly each year. The planned roll of 1630 will include a sixth form. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities is above average. The proportions of pupils from minority ethnic groups and those whose first language is not English are above average. The academy has specialisms in mathematics and citizenship.
A great deal of work has brought about a new school that has quickly established high expectations and secured impressive progress in the short period since opening. Pupils make outstanding progress in their studies. They greatly enjoy coming to school and attendance is high. Pupils behave well and they respond enthusiastically to the growing team of dedicated staff. Relationships between adults and pupils are very positive and help to promote above average attainment. The pupil population is diverse but nevertheless, the academy achieves a strong inclusive ethos. The academy has only one quarter of the final intake number and systems are developing well to accommodate its expected growth. The principal, headteacher of the primary section, governors and the senior team, have developed rapidly a clear sense of purpose and strong, ambitious plans to ensure pupils get a good deal from their school days. The governing body has clear priorities and plans to ensure that the academy is always operating at the highest level. Clear expectations of pupils established from the beginning, have been further developed with the move to new accommodation. An appealing new nursery has been established. The first pupils to enter Year 7 show a pride in their academy and have demonstrated effective learning habits. The quality of teaching and learning is good overall. There are aspects that are outstanding including the consistently high expectations and rigorous lesson planning. However, in a small minority of lessons, these plans are not always implemented fully. Some lessons would benefit from engaging students more in small group work. The academy has very good systems to check pupils’ progress over time and this information is used to inform future planning. The academy has established a pattern of regular lesson observations, including teaching peers as well as senior leaders. These are highly effective in improving practice in the classroom as well as ensuring consistency, though the procedures are slightly different between the primary and secondary phases. Most staff believe that they are well supported professionally and are particularly complimentary about the recent and ongoing staff training. The academy’s specialism in mathematics and citizenship play a significant role in pupils’ developments both academically, through an emphasis on teaching core skills well, and in developing pupils’ very positive attitudes to school and learning. The academy has a clear rationale for the current outstanding curriculum and this has already helped to ensure that literacy, as well as mathematics, has been a prime focus. Pupils are confident to participate in all areas of academy life and are increasingly active and involved in their learning. The academy has already established strong systems to support pupils’ learning. The induction for Year 7 pupils was very thorough. It included getting to know all of the families joining the academy and provided comprehensive information for parents and pupils. A conspicuous range of support services is available including partnerships with external agencies. This is a very young academy that is rapidly developing strong plans to improve partnerships with parents as well as further increase pupils’ responsibilities in establishing wider-reaching community cohesion. There is a growing sense of community cohesion within the academy and senior staff are aware that more can be done to plan for and develop this wider afield. It is early days for the academy to have a major impact in these areas. Where it has prioritised actions, the outcomes have been highly effective. For example, parents are generally very happy with the academy so far and responded positively to the parent questionnaire. Pupils are already involved as anti-bullying mentors and the primary section has a growing academy council. These successes, and the considerable progress pupils are making, all demonstrate the academy’s outstanding capacity for sustained improvement.