Park Vale Academy rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted for first time in its history

Celebrations are under way at Park Vale Academy in Nottingham since the announcement that Ofsted has rated their school ‘Good’ in all areas – for the first time in the history of any school on the site!

In March the inspection team spent two days at the Top Valley school where they observed ‘high expectations’ and noted that ‘Staff and pupils said that the school has improved.’

Inspectors visited lessons, looked at pupils’ work and spoke to a wide range of stakeholders including pupils, parents, teachers, leaders and governors on 19th and 20th March 2024.

Returning their Section 5 report, they said: “Pupils enjoy attending Park Vale Academy. The school has high expectations of what pupils can achieve and how they should behave.”

“The school is well led and managed,” it continued. “Trust leaders have provided effective support to improve the school.”

Pupils enjoy attending Park Vale Academy. The school has high expectations of what pupils can achieve and how they should behave

In particular, Ofsted praised the positive atmosphere around the school and the excellent conduct of pupils, saying: “The school is calm and orderly […] There are positive relationships between staff and pupils. Pupils are polite and well-mannered. They treat each other respectfully.”

The inspection team noted that ‘pupils feel safe in school’ and that they knew who to speak to if they had any worries. The school’s ‘clear system’ for dealing with any behaviour issues was said to set ‘clear expectations’ and meant that ‘lessons are rarely disrupted’.

On the curriculum, Ofsted acknowledged that school leaders and the Trust had ‘worked well to improve the curriculum and its delivery.’ They added: “As a result, pupils benefit from a broad and ambitious curriculum.”

The school is well led and managed [...] Trust leaders have provided effective support to improve the school.

“The curriculum is well-planned. It is clear what pupils will learn and when. This supports teachers in delivering the curriculum well,” the report reads. “Most teachers use their good subject knowledge to deliver the curriculum well […] As a result, most pupils progress well through the curriculum and achieve well.”

Attracting specific praise was the school’s development programme for pupils. Inspectors said: “A well-thought-out programme supports pupils' broader development. They learn about different religions. They also learn about equality and how to treat others with respect. Pupils benefit from a comprehensive careers programme. This prepares them well for their next steps.”

Headteacher Steve Bowhay said: “I am so proud of everyone at the academy in achieving this unprecedented success. The staff at Park Vale have worked really hard to create a culture of high expectations both in terms of behaviour and achievement, so I am really glad that this was recognised by the inspection team.”

“However, such a glowing report is mainly a credit to the students themselves who demonstrate really high standards in terms of behaviour and achievement day in, day out. Well done to everyone at the academy and let’s continue to raise the bar!”

Andrew Burns, CEO of Redhill Academy Trust, said: “This very positive judgement is a testament to the superb work of the staff and students at Park Vale Academy. The standards at Park Vale are very high, examination results have improved significantly, and the leadership of the academy has created a sustainable base for future success.” 

Listed below are further comments made by inspectors following the recent Ofsted inspection:

  • There are clear routines that pupils understand and follow.
  • At break and lunchtime, pupils behave sensibly. They enjoy socialising and taking part in different activities.
  • Through its co-curricular offer, the school provides a range of clubs that pupils can attend. Pupils enjoy taking part in sports activities and attending clubs such as the pride club, dance club, chess club and cooking club.
  • Many Year 11 pupils appreciate and make good use of after-school revision sessions.
  • An increasing number of pupils now participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.
  • Staff enjoy working at the school and feel well-supported. Staff have a range of training opportunities to improve their practice.