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Barnstaple school put in special measures after being deemed ‘inadequate’

PUBLISHED: 13:43 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:23 25 January 2018

North Devon Academy in Roundswell, Barnstaple.

North Devon Academy in Roundswell, Barnstaple.

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School deemed to be inadequate in all areas following December inspection

A Barnstaple school has been placed into special measures by Ofsted after being deemed ‘inadequate’ in all areas.

Inspectors published their findings of SchoolsCompany North Devon Academy on Tuesday after visiting the pupil referral unit in December.

The report from lead inspector Jen Southall said the school needs to ‘rapidly improve the quality of leadership and management’, as well as the ‘quality of teaching, learning and assessment’.

The report said: “The trust is overgenerous in its evaluation of the school’s effectiveness. Therefore, due to the shortcomings in knowledge and understanding of the most important key aspects of the school, the trust fails to demonstrate the capacity to rectify this situation.

“The school’s current plan for improvement is weak and not fit for purpose. It does not identify the priorities leaders need to take in order to improve pupils’ achievement rapidly.”

North Devon Academy opened in March 2015 and has a board consisting of 10 directors as well as a board of governors.

North Devon Academy in Roundswell, Barnstaple. North Devon Academy in Roundswell, Barnstaple.

The academy works with pupils who have been excluded or have additional needs that prevent them from attending school regularly, with the aim of reintegrating pupils back into mainstream school, college or further training.

The report said the behaviour of pupils was inadequate, as was the therapeutic provision.

It said: “Leaders record behaviour incidents and incidents of physical intervention. However, leaders do not analyse these occurrences well enough to identify patters and possible triggers for challenging behaviour.

“As a result, the number of exclusions and use of physical restrain continue to rise.

“Therapeutic provision is inadequate. Pupils do not receive the therapy they need to improve their emotional and personal development.

“Consequently, many pupils remain at heightened anxiety levels, which has a negative impact on their behaviour and ability to engage positively in their learning.”

Principal Justin Davey took over in March 2016, and the report recognised the leader had the support of staff and they want to rapidly improve. It also noted that relationships between staff and pupils are strong.

The Gazette has contacted North Devon Academy for comment.

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