Our Annual Report 2017

Our Annual Report 2017

by Frank Norris.

Today sees the launch of our Trust’s Annual Report up to the end of 2017. The year saw many changes in the national examination and assessment arrangements so it was quite an uncomfortable and challenging year for children, young people and staff. I am pleased with the results overall but more important than that I am delighted that our academies are continuing to flourish and more and more parents and carers want to send their children to our academies.

In 2017, GCSEs changed considerably. We began to see a phasing out of the A*-G grading and an introduction of a new 9-1 scale. Grade 1 being the lowest attainable GCSE grade and 9 being the highest. With a Grade 4 roughly equivalent to the old ‘C’ grade the government insisted that a Grade 5 was now the expected level. In the past few years a new progress measure has been introduced called Progress 8. The national average Progress 8 score is zero with a minus figure indicating that a higher proportion of students were not not making the expected progress and a positive figure suggesting they were exceeding the progress expected.

The Progress 8 average across our academies is 0.02, which puts us above the national average but statistically close to the average. Our academies have a significantly higher proportion of students deemed to be in receipt of pupil premium funding In both primary and secondary age ranges the proportion eligible for pupil premium funding is around double the national figure.

The percentage of disadvantaged students in our academies compared to the national average.

In our Trust we’ve worked hard to close the gap between those children eligible for pupil premium and those who are not. This is a quasi indicator of economic and social deprivation. The progress our disadvantaged students make, which is measured as they leave secondary school, is scored at -0.02. The national average for students from disadvantaged backgrounds is -0.4. So whilst we’ve still not removed the gap between disadvantaged students and their peers we have narrowed that gap compared to other schools in similar circumstances to a point where their rate of progress is close to the national average for all pupils.

The progress made by pupils leaving our primary academies is even more impressive.

Reading progress scores being 0.02 (above but close to the national average), writing being 1.4 (above the national average) and mathematics 2.4 (well above the national average).

The message from these results is that our children are making good progress overall but I truly believe that there is more to a good education than just test results. We need to help our young people realise the benefits of good habits such as arriving on time to school, attending regularly and having a good attitude to learning and co-operating well with others.  Our attendance figures have improved annually, and that’s as a direct result of the high quality education that is on offer.

In the last twelve months we’ve experienced four Ofsted inspections. The first of these was at Co-op Academy Nightingale in Leeds – a school which we built and opened in 2014. Ofsted were impressed by the work the Trust had undertaken in establishing the school and awarded a ‘Good’ grade with outstanding awarded to the quality of care and support on offer. Ofsted also visited our other academies at Co-op Academy Stoke-on-Trent, Co-op Academy Manchester and Co-op Academy Brownhill in Leeds. The trend continued with all of these academies being graded again as ‘Good’. Ofsted inspectors commented on the outstanding leadership and management at the Manchester academy, the high quality provision for pupils from challenging communities at Brownhill and the excellent character education and person welfare support available at Stoke-on-Trent.

During the year, we welcomed three new academies to our Trust (Co-op Academy Priesthorpe, Co-op Academy Failsworth and Co-op Academy Beckfield). All three required additional support to help them achieve a Good Ofsted judgement and we believe we are making the progress necessary to achieve this at their first inspection as members of the Trust. There are many other schools/academies wanting to join our Trust. We’re in a good position to support them as on the 6th April the Co-op committed £3.6 million to support the expansion of the Trust and change the lives of even more young people in the north of England.

To read the report click here.