Bannerman Road Community Academy judged Good in all categories by Ofsted

Bannerman Road Community Academy in Easton has been judged by Ofsted as Good, a clean sweep in every category.

Inspectors described a “thriving and inclusive school which is at the heart of its community”.

After spending two days at Bannerman Road in July, the Ofsted team of three rated the school as Good for the quality of education; leadership and management; pupils’ behaviour and attitudes; personal development; and the Early Years provision.

The report said: “Pupils value their education. The school motto ‘Believe You Can’ underpins pupils’ aspirations. Pupils say that this helps them to believe in themselves and to do their very best.”

The inspection outcome demonstrates the progress Bannerman Road has made since it was last visited by Ofsted in 2018 and found to require improvement. The school, which has nearly 400 pupils aged three to 11, is located in a bustling community with strong social values but is none the less one of the most deprived areas in the region.

In his report, lead inspector Ben Jordan highlighted the positive relationships between staff and pupils and the high expectations that leaders and governors have for what all children can achieve, including pupils with special educational needs, from disadvantaged backgrounds or for whom English is not their first language.

He praised the routines and systems that promote positive behaviour throughout the school from the early years.

“There is a calm and orderly atmosphere across the school… [Pupils] understand the importance of tolerance and respect towards other cultures,” the report said.

It also reflected that parents and carers were “overwhelmingly positive” about the school and quoted one who described Bannerman Road as “a safe and nurturing environment with kind and friendly staff and a great community feel.”

The school’s leaders were credited with creating a strong safeguarding culture where staff use their good knowledge of pupils, families and the local community to keep children safe, working well with a wide range of outside agencies to ensure pupils and families get the help they need. Governors also received praise for knowing the school well, supporting and challenging leaders effectively in all aspects of its work.

Ofsted said pupils enjoyed attending the school, were enthusiastic about the clubs such as multi-sports and yoga and valued their roles on the school council and in fundraising for local charities.

The curriculum at the school, which has been part of Venturers Trust for five years and is sponsored by the Society of Merchant Venturers and the University of Bristol, was said to be designed well to meet the needs of pupils, with reading at its heart.

The report said: “Children develop their language and communication skills by listening to stories and by singing songs. Staff spot quickly those pupils who need extra help. Effective support helps these pupils to catch up. Pupils enjoy listening to their teachers read, as well as reading books independently. Across the school, pupils read fluently and with enjoyment.”

The report also noted the strong provision for mathematics, with good subject knowledge and appropriate support and challenge.

The inspectors said that to improve further the school should ensure that all teachers used assessment effectively to support children’s learning and should help some teachers strengthen their subject knowledge.

Interim Head Teacher, Oliver Laken, said: “I’m incredibly proud of our school community. The happy, nurturing environment that exists in school was clear to the inspectors. We’ve been on a journey of improvement over the last four years, with the full support of the entire school community and the outcome of this is evident every day.”

Mr Laken continued: “We have wonderful pupils who are eager to learn, who work hard and are kind to each other; our teachers are dedicated and ambitious for every pupil; our parents and carers have helped create an effective partnership between home and school; our governors have continuously encouraged us to raise the bar, providing support and challenge at every step along the way; and the ongoing support from Venturers Trust has been invaluable in helping us to raise standards and keep children safe.”

Chair of Governors, Robert Bourns, said: “I’m delighted that the inspectors recognised our commitment to the safety and learning of the children which is a priority for all staff at our school. The report reflects our shared ethos that this is a school where all children from all backgrounds can succeed. Bannerman Road is part of a great community and I know the recognition from Ofsted will encourage further progress towards the Outstanding status that I am confident can be achieved.”