Richmond Academy held up as an example of excellence

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

 

A case study describing the journey of the Academy over the past 7 years has been included in the report Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 years on which will be presented to the Government.

 

The report explores what has happened to health inequalities and social determinants over the last decade. Richmond Academy has been striving to tackle poverty and disadvantage by delivering an excellent education and improving pupil outcomes. . The school, based in Coldhurst, Oldham has transformed its children’s experience of education.

 

Jessica Hainsworth, Executive Principal at Richmond Academy said: “We are delighted that the work of the staff, children and families has been recognised at a national level. We have a driving determination that all children will get the very best start in life and have the opportunity to be the very best they can be.’

 

Case Study included in the report is as follows:

 

Richmond Academy, Greater Manchester – turning a primary school around 

 

Richmond Academy is a primary school serving one of the areas with the highest levels of deprivation in the UK – St Mary’s Ward in Oldham, Greater Manchester – where 90 percent of children attending live in the 10 percent of most deprived households. Approximately one-third of children are eligible for free school meals. 

 

In 2013 Richmond Primary School was graded as inadequate by Ofsted. In the early years foundation stage only 38 percent of children left the Reception year in line with age-related expectations, thus school readiness was well below average. At Key Stage 1, two-thirds of children did not meet age-related expectation at age 7; and only 40 percent were leaving primary school at age 11 having reached national expectations for their age in reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 2. More than two-thirds were leaving primary school unable to read or write appropriately to their age, many were unprepared for secondary school, aspirations were low, they had negative attitudes to learning and some had challenging behavioural problems. Attendance was also well below national average. 

 

    To make substantial and sustained change, a new ethos was required both within the school and across the community. The belief needed to be instilled that every child, regardless of their circumstance, has the right to leave school able to communicate with confidence and able to read and write well. Decisive and deliberate actions were taken, which included leadership development, effective professional training for staff, raising the expectations of pupils, parental education and engagement, and changing pupils’ attitudes to learning. 

 

 Within two years pupils aged 11 were leaving with the same educational attainment as the national average. The biggest changes were to set high expectations and improve the quality of teaching and learning for all pupils, including the most vulnerable. That required ensuring every child’s educational needs were met, especially those with special educational needs and disability. Developing a strategic approach was underpinned by the importance of language and talk throughout the curriculum. The age range of the school was also extended to include 2 year olds, to maximise the impact of the early years provision. 

 

Equally important has been parental engagement, in particular the targeted programme REAL, which supports literacy by developing opportunities for learning; recognising and valuing small steps; interacting in positive ways; and modelling explicit literacy and language interventions. Parents also attend community coffee mornings and classes that can progress to adult learning opportunities and employment.

 

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