The College’s independent school, Foundation Bridge Academy, based at the Burslem campus has received a ‘good’ Ofsted grade at its first inspection.
Foundation Bridge Academy was formed by the College in 2017 to cater for students aged 14 to 19 outside of mainstream education.
Located at the college’s Moorland Road campus, the academy provides vocational education, learning support and confidence building activities for just under 50 pupils with a range of abilities and educational needs, who attend on either a part-time or full-time basis.
Following its first Ofsted inspection, the academy was graded as good, including good leadership and management, good quality of teaching, learning and assessment, good personal development, behaviour and welfare and good overall effectiveness.
During the visit inspectors observed 15 lessons, interviewed parents, undertook a health and safety tour, reviewed policies and procedures and held meetings with managers, as well as speaking to pupils formally and informally.
The resulting Ofsted report commends the “broad, varied and interesting curriculum that motivates pupils,” good relationships with parents and carers, strong safeguarding, and strong support for pupils with social, emotional and mental health issues.
Inspectors commented: “All pupils have made good progress in their social, emotional and mental health development. This is due to the strong pastoral care of pupils by staff who know them well.”
Whilst some pupils’ attendance and outcomes require improvement, according to the report, inspectors acknowledged that “pupils work steadily and make good progress in most lessons;” “pupils’ progress is clearly monitored” and “in the last academic year, all of the pupils enrolled at the academy throughout the year successfully completed their learning aims.”
The report highlights that “pupils’ confidence grows as they become more accustomed to the fact that adults are all striving for their success and wellbeing” and “the attendance of the vast majority of pupils is either good or improving quickly since they started the school.”
The running of the school is overseen by leaders at Stoke on Trent College and the academy is based at its Burslem campus, giving pupils access to vocational learning facilities including hairdressing, construction, art, vehicle maintenance, sport and caring – with inspectors noting that students are particularly engaged in vocational learning. Pupils also study core subjects such as English, science, PHSE, ICT and PE as well as taking part in extra-curricular activities such as street dance, cooking, gymnastics, and table tennis.
Commenting on the ‘good’ Ofsted grading, Denise Brown, principal at Stoke on Trent College comments: “We are very pleased that inspectors were able to see for themselves how well our 14-16-year-old pupils at The Foundation Bridge Academy are responding to the specialist support we can provide and the more tailored approach to their learning and development.
We work in partnership with many local schools in the area and the local authority, to provide an alternative style of education for those who, for a number of reasons, are not progressing in mainstream education. This could range from pupils who may have self-esteem or mental health issues, some who were bullied in a previous environment, and others who are at risk of exclusion. We also have some students who are home schooled and come to us to undertake specific classes or vocational learning.”
Carol Martin, Headteacher at Foundation Bridge Academy, adds: “The inspectors said in their report that leaders here are determined in our efforts to educate young people in life and work skills and that we have a cohesive team of teachers, learning and support assistants, mentors and counsellors who have a significant impact on improving students’ wellbeing.
I couldn’t have summed our approach up better in my own words. We all work as a team, with the leaders at Stoke on Trent College, with the local schools, with our pupils, with their parents and with specialist outside agencies too. We are very pleased with the report but we still have even more to achieve and we are focused on continuous improvements and the very best for our learners.
Thank you to all the pupils and their parents who gave such fantastic feedback to the inspectors. We are proud of our students.”
For more information about alternative educational provision for 14-18 year olds on a full-time or part-time basis, please contact the Foundation Bridge Academy on 01782 603590 or visit www.foundationbridgeacademy.com.