|Name||The Academy of Central Bedfordshire|
|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Good|
|Inspection Date||16 June 2015|
|Address||Kingsland Campus, Parkside Drive, Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, LU5 5PX|
|Number of Pupils||65 (67% boys 33% girls)|
|Local Authority||Central Bedfordshire|
|Percentage Free School Meals||33.8%|
|Catchment Area Information Available||No|
|Last Distance Offered Information Available||No|
Information about this school
The Academy of Central Bedfordshire is an innovative alternative provision free school which provides education for students in Key Stages 3 and 4 who have been excluded, or who are at risk of exclusion, from their mainstream schools. Typically these students have a poor record of attendance and behaviour at their previous schools, low levels of attainment and poor perceptions of themselves as learners. The academy is supported by all of the upper, middle and secondary schools in Central Bedfordshire. Places are currently commissioned on a full-time basis by the local authority and on a part-time basis by the commissioning schools. Full time places will be available to schools from September 2015. The Governing Body includes the principals of all the upper schools and representatives of secondary and middle schools in Central Bedfordshire. The local authority works in close partnership with governors and leaders. The academy opened on the Houghton Regis site in September 2013 with a student body which had transferred from the pupil referral unit which was based on the same site. This site offers a balance of core subjects including English, mathematics, information technology and vocational options. The Stotfold site opened in purpose-built facilities in September 2014 with similar provision and additional access to outdoor and adventure activities. The academy has expanded very rapidly, and more quickly than expected, towards reaching its full capacity of 140 students. During this academic year 90 students have joined the academy at other than the normal entry time and 14 have left. 53 have joined since January. The majority of students are of White British heritage; over two-thirds are boys. The proportion of students with an education, health and care plan is increasing as the academy identifies the high level of needs some students have once they join the academy. A tenth of students either have plans or have them pending. The proportion of students eligible for the pupil premium (extra funding for students eligible for free school meals or who are looked after by the local authority) is above average. The executive headteacher is also the headteacher of Oak Bank School, which provides education for students with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. The academy uses eight external providers to enhance provision for students. These include Active Support Education, The Seeds of Change, First Place Training, C&G Plastering Academy, KWS Educational Services, Jamrock Academy, Barnfield College and Barnfield Technological Enterprise.
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school. Working in an innovative partnership with the local authority, upper and middle school leaders have established an academy which effectively meets the needs of students. These are students who have been, or are at risk of being, permanently excluded from their mainstream schools. The executive headteacher, well supported by leaders across the two academy sites, leads the academy with the knowledge and determination necessary to create bespoke provision which enables students to re-engage with education. Leaders are driving improvements in the quality of teaching and accelerating progress as a result. Governors use their knowledge and expertise very effectively to monitor the work of the academy. They challenge leaders effectively, but also provide them with effective advice and guidance. The vast majority of students are making expected progress in English and mathematics. This year, all students are on track to achieve functional skills qualifications in these subjects. Students say that the academy is making a positive difference to their confidence and to the way they feel about their learning. They say it is helping them to achieve better outcomes than they had previously expected. Students make very good progress in the vocational subjects they study because of strong teaching and very well-equipped learning areas. They concentrate on their learning well and present their work with care. Students make good progress in improving their behaviour during their time at the academy. They are effectively challenged and supported to understand the consequences of poor behaviour and the benefits of managing their own behaviour positively. Students are taught to manage their own safety well. They say they feel safe once they have settled at the academy and that there is very little bullying. It is not yet an outstanding school because : The quality of teaching in core mathematics lessons has been inconsistent because of frequent changes in staffing. As a result, students’ work does not show all that they are capable of. Delays in leaders receiving information from previous providers about students’ needs when they started the academy have prevented some from making rapid progress. Staff do not always use the agreed sanctions and rewards for behaviour immediately. Consequently, the poor behaviour of a small minority of students can continue unchecked for too long.