Published: October 11, 2019 2:52 pm

Carleton Park Junior & Infant School and Pontefract Academies Trust has been awarded the highest “outstanding” grade for leadership and management by Ofsted – making it one of the most improved Trusts in the region.

Carleton Park Junior & Infant School was also given the highest “outstanding grade” for the behaviour and personal development of its pupils following a two-day inspection in July of this year.

According to Darren Stewart, Her Majesty’s Inspector, “leaders’ resolute actions have improved the quality of teaching rapidly” and have “brought about a highly-focused and strategic approach to leadership”.

Joe Ayre, Head of School at Carleton Park Junior & Infant School, said: “We are delighted with the Ofsted report and it shows just how much ground we have covered in the last twelve months. The report shows just how well pupils, staff, the Trust, parents and our governors work together.” The report says that “parents acknowledge the improvements in the quality of teaching in recent months” and current pupils in the school “are achieving well and making good progress”.

Inspectors found that leaders’ accurately track the progress of all groups of pupils and as a result no child falls behind. Joe Ayre continued, “the report clearly shows that a higher proportion of pupils with special educational needs are making much more progress than they have in the past”. Inspectors highlighted that “pupils historically, made progress well below that expected of their age and ability”. Mr Ayre added, “I am pleased that Ofsted have highlighted some of the legacy issues that we have faced. My staff have worked very hard and with real determination. We were rewarded by being the 2nd highest achieving school out of 101 schools in Wakefield. A great achievement as the year before the school was placed 79th.”

The one form entry primary school is part of the Pontefract Academies Trust family of eight schools. Darren Stewart HMI, the lead inspector highlighted that the “school has benefited greatly from the change in leadership and new appointments at Pontefract Academies Trust”, with the “expert support from the CEO and Director of Primary Education enabling the school to systematically improve over the last twelve months”. The governance of the school is “exceptionally led” and the “CEO leads with vigour and promotes a strong moral purpose”.

Pontefract Academies Trust CEO, Julian Appleyard OBE, was delighted with the findings of the regulator. Mr Appleyard said, “The judgement validates the journey and the work of the last twelve months. We have collectively focused upon our moral and professional responsibility in addressing the drift in primary outcomes in the schools in the Trust that have been on a downward spiral since 2015.”

The Trust itself has seen a remarkable turnaround in the last twelve months with the SATs test scores for its six primary schools showing transformational improvement. Mr Appleyard continued, “the trajectory of improvement outcomes in our primary and secondary schools can only be a great thing for the community as we drive to further improve the life chances of our pupils”. Primary schools in the Trust obtained their best outcomes by a considerable distance. The Trust’s performance is now 12% above the national average. The year before it was 12% below – a 24% improvement in one year, likely placing the Trust as one of the most improved in the region.

Click here to read Carleton Park’s full Ofsted report. 


Staff and pupils at Carleton High School are celebrating after being rated a good school by Ofsted following an inspection on the 4th and 5th July 2019.

The school under its previous leadership had been placed in special measures in 2017. The 11-16 school, part of Pontefract Academies Trust, now has its highest rating for ten years. New leadership at trust and school level have taken the school out of special measures and to a good rating in a twelve-month period.

Inspectors spent two days in the school observing lessons, talking with staff and pupils, and seeking the viewpoints of parents.

Jo Cross, Head of School, said the Ofsted report reflected the “energy, commitment and hard work” of everyone in the school community.

“The staff at school have worked so hard and we are delighted that Ofsted recognise that this is a transformed school. I am incredibly proud of our achievements over the last twelve months in what has been a real team effort.  I would like to thank all staff, children, the trust, parents, governors and leaders. This is the first time in ten years that this judgement has been awarded so it is an achievement to be proud of. We receive outstanding support and direction from the trust on a daily basis and we now have the platform for even bigger and better things.”

Phil Smith HMI, the lead inspector, said “Leaders have significantly improved the school since the previous inspection. Accountability for improving pupil achievement is a golden thread that runs through the work of the school.”

Pontefract Academies Trust, which operates the two secondary schools in the town, was praised with the report saying the trust has been instrumental in “driving improvements at a dizzying pace” with “sensible decisions made to improve the school leadership, behaviour and teaching”.

The Ofsted report describes “behaviour as a real strength of the school” and that there has been a “step change in the way pupils behave” whilst the school “pervades an air of calm and orderliness”. In addition, the work that the school has done to tackle weak legacy performance was highlighted by the inspection team, with “disadvantaged, lower attaining pupils and those with special educational needs and disabilities now making better progress”.

Jo Cross, Head of School, added “It was great to see that Ofsted recognise the amount of work we have done in developing our staff. We work very closely on staff training with The King’s School, the other secondary in the trust”. The report says that, “Teachers are full of praise for the training that is helping them improve their teaching” and “the trust and the school have made very sensible decisions to align their curriculum with that of the other secondary school within the trust. This ensures that teachers’ expertise can be pooled.”

Julian Appleyard OBE, the CEO of Pontefract Academies Trust, was delighted with the outcome of the recent Ofsted visit. Mr Appleyard said “The judgement validates the work of the last twelve months. The school is a totally different place from twelve months ago. It is a pleasure to see the effort and dedication of all coming to fruition. We are confident that the school will continue to go from strength to strength. Carleton High is a special place and staff and students should be rightly proud of the rapid progress that has been made.”

Click here to read Carleton High’s full Ofsted report.


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