Queen Katharine Academy has been judged to be a Good school in all areas by Ofsted.
The new academy, which opened in January 2017 as part of Thomas Deacon Education Trust, received its first inspection in December 2019. The school was rated ‘Good’ in all five categories: Quality of Education, Behaviour and Attitudes, Personal Development, Leadership and Management and Sixth-Form Provision.
Queen Katharine Academy opened in 2017 when the predecessor school, The Voyager Academy, was transferred into the Thomas Deacon Education Trust. The Voyager School opened in 2007 and had consistently struggled to meet the standard required by Ofsted since that point. This milestone judgement is the first time, since the school opened, that the school has been deemed ‘Good’ by Ofsted.
The inspector praised the academy’s rapid transformation, stating: “Queen Katharine is more than just a new name for its predecessor school. Leaders, trustees and governors have transformed the school since it opened three years ago. From a low base, results have improved impressively year on year. From their starting points, most pupils make good progress.”
The inspector said: “Queen Katharine Academy is a calm, friendly and welcoming school. Above all, it is an inclusive community, where mutual respect and tolerance are the norm.”
Lynn Mayes, Principal of Queen Katharine Academy, said: “We are over the moon with the result of our first full inspection since joining the Thomas Deacon Education Trust. My amazing colleagues have all worked extremely hard to transform the school and I am proud to say we provide a high quality of education for our pupils.
“It is fantastic to see the report recognise the effort we have put into offering a broad curriculum, wide range of extra-curricular and personal development opportunities and a supportive and inclusive atmosphere. Thank you to all our pupils, parents, staff, governors, the Trust and local community for supporting us on this journey of improvement.”
The release of the report follows several years of impressive increases in the academy’s GCSE results. Progress 8 in particular has risen by 0.6 at Queen Katharine Academy since it joined the Trust in January 2017, meaning pupils are achieving over half a grade higher than they were previously.
Julie Taylor, Chief Executive of the Thomas Deacon Education Trust, added: “This is a well-deserved result for Queen Katharine Academy and a fantastic achievement for the Trust, showing the amazing things that can happen when local schools come together to share best practice and support one another. The academy joined us in 2017 at a very turbulent time and the progress has been inspiring to watch and support. We are very pleased for all of our colleagues at the academy and look forward to continuing to work with and support them.”
The report commended the quality of education and teaching at the academy: “School improvement has been rooted in fundamental changes in the curriculum, and the consistent application of high expectations of pupil conduct. Teaching is lively and engaging, and teachers are encouraging and supportive. Staff instil a can-do approach in pupils, raising their aspirations and giving them every opportunity to succeed.”
The academy’s sixth form provision, which is in the top 5% of the country for value-added progress at A-Level, received significant praise. The inspector said: “The school has quickly established a large and successful sixth form. Careers advice and guidance are particularly effective in raising aspirations and steering students’ decisions. They develop as confident young adults who are positive role models for younger pupils.”
The academy was praised several times for its inclusivity and celebration of diversity: “Pupils are accepting of others and see difference as positive because pupils come from diverse backgrounds and many have faced the challenge of settling into an unfamiliar school.”
The report also praised the personal development opportunities provided, stating: “The promotion of pupils’ personal development is a notable strength. The school makes every effort to widen pupils’ horizons with a good range of after school clubs, trips and activities.”
Safeguarding is regarded as effective. Pupils say that they feel confident that there is always a trusted adult they can turn to for advice and feel safe at school because they know that issues get sorted out. Pupils with special educational needs and disabilities are also well supported.