Excellent relationships between staff and students are built on mutual trust and underpin the supportive learning environment. Students, parents, carers and staff are overwhelmingly positive about the academy and its work. Senior leaders rightly identify the further improvement of teaching and students’ achievement as priorities in securing outstanding overall effectiveness. Achievement is good. There has been a relentless and successful focus on raising attainment. Students now make at least good progress and many make outstanding progress. Generally, students’ literacy skills are underdeveloped when they join the academy. A cross-curricular approach to tackling this issue and developing students’ resilience and confidence in learning is making an impact but it is not yet fully embedded. A very strong trend of improvement in the percentage of students gaining five GCSE results at grades A* to C, including English and mathematics has been secured. However, the gap with the national average has not yet been closed.Teaching is mainly good with an increasing proportion that is outstanding. High quality professional development underpins the growing strengths of individual teachers.
So what is the difference between Marlowe and SKA?
Trying to put aside the Tunbridge Wells image against that of Ramsgate, every report I receive speaks of a charismatic headteacher at Skinners Kent Academy, who is determined to do right for her pupils. In short, the answer is what it nearly always is with failing and outstanding schools - the quality of the leadership. Whilst this is primarily of the headteacher, it is also that of the governors who appoint him or her and are then required to hold the academy’s leaders and managers to account effectively for the impact of their work. To quote the OFSTED Report once again....'The tenacious pursuit of excellence is the touchstone of leadership at every level. Self-evaluation is thorough, tough and accurate. The penetrating focus on improving teaching is uncompromising. Staff are clear about their accountability and, like the students, are proud to be part of a team that will only settle for excellence'.