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Headteacher's Blog 17 - Friday 22nd January

Ofsted Visit

On Tuesday afternoon I was telephoned by Gina White who introduced herself as ringing from OFSTED, and explained that she would be leading a team of inspectors on a visit, starting at 8.00am the next morning. 

They spent most of Wednesday in lessons; they were very thorough, checking the behaviour of students, their level of engagement in the lessons, the quality of work, the quality of marking, the quality of students’ responses to marking and looking for that all important evidence of student progress over time. They also joined students during break time, checking their conduct during social time, on the stairwells, corridor, restaurant and quad to gain a picture of the behaviour of our children when they are under less supervision and not in lessons.

They held a string of meetings with senior and middle leaders looking closely at maths, English, science and languages.  They also explored our arrangements for safeguarding, behaviour, teaching and learning and attendance. The team also met with Directors (previously known as Governors).  They spent time with four groups of students to hear their views as well as analysing the student, parent and staff questionnaires.

The lead Inspector was very professional, thorough and astute; it was impressive to see her make the links between all the diverse types of data arriving so quickly on her desk.

It certainly feels that every single aspect of our Academy has been thoroughly tested. I am very proud of the way our young people engaged with the inspection – they were polite, welcoming and their behaviour was superb.  I am also so proud of my staff, who took the time to show the Inspectors just what makes Horbury so special.

The report will be published in two or three weeks’ time and I look forward to sharing a copy with you as soon as we are given permission to do so.

Careers Advice

We are pleased to announce that we have a Careers Adviser working in the Academy each Tuesday to support our students to make decisions about their future. Wendy Kerley is a fully qualified, independent and impartial Careers Adviser who is working on behalf of U-Explore. Wendy will be offering one to one guidance appointments, drop in sessions at lunch-time and after school and group guidance sessions. Students can also message Wendy through the secure guidance messenger service on the U-Explore website.

The U-Explore website enables students to explore the ideas that they have for the future. There are 2,000 written and video job profiles across 15 industry sectors, 360 degree virtual tours of real businesses and links to education and training providers across the UK. The website is You will require a school code upon registration which can be accessed through Form Tutors.

Horbury Academy – Students Fly High!

Tuesday isn’t just etched in my mind as the day we got the Ofsted phone call; it is, more importantly the day that our iGCSE English Language results arrived.  It gave me great pleasure to share some wonderful results with 70 year 11 students.  They have performed brilliantly with 75% of students making as expected or better progress.  A phenomenal outcome, which led to tears of joy, shocked faces and choc-ices being enjoyed on Thursday afternoon!

Exam success featured again on Wednesday when we welcomed last year’s, year 11 back into the Academy to collect their examination certificates.  More sweet treats were enjoyed and whilst Mr Brook and I were with the Inspectors, I know senior leaders, Mrs Spurr and other staff, took great delight in welcoming familiar faces back into Horbury.


We’ve also had more success with our Creative Writing Group – four students: Emily Sheffield (y9), Jemima Wilson (y8), Eben Deighton (y7) and Alyssa Bland (y7) have had their poems, for the Poetry Trials Competition, accepted! The poems will appear in an anthology - The Poetry Trials West Yorkshire.

Whilst year 9 and their parents/carers attended last night’s Parents’ Evening (a big thank you to all of you who turned up in the dark, wet weather) a mighty battle was taking place – yes, the annual Wakefield School’s Battle of the Bands took place at Unity Works.

We were delighted that “Anonymous”, a piano and vocal group from Year ten took part alongside six other schools and Academies from the Wakefield District.

Anonymous took to the stage in front over 200  people, to perform their own composition “One Choice”.

Whilst the overall winner was a group of post-16 students from Minsthorpe Community College, all the bands that took part showed what a variety of musical talent there is in the Wakefield District.

(Although they want to remain Anonymous – well done and thanks goes to Abigail Lumb, Andrew Beever, Rebekah Stevens and Chloe McKay!)


As always, thank you –

Thank you so much for your support in what has been a momentous week for Horbury Academy.  Enjoy your weekend and let’s hope the sunshine lasts!