Venturers’ Academy in Bristol has received its first Ofsted inspection since the academy launched in 2016, with the inspector rating the academy as Good with Outstanding features. The report reveals that Bristol’s only school for children with a primary diagnosis of Autism is on track to become “a beacon of excellence”.
Venturers’ Academy is based in Withywood and currently has 95 pupils on roll, aged between four and 16. The inspection took place on 11th and 12th June 2019 and comes during a phase of growth that will see a second Venturers’ Academy site open within the grounds of The Kingfisher School in St Anne’s Park. This will provide a further 36 places for children with a primary diagnosis of Autism, helping to meet the regional shortage of suitable school places.
The inspector reported that “pupils thrive in an environment where they are nurtured and cared for,” and that they “make considerable progress, often from extremely low starting points.” The ‘curiosity curriculum’ was praised for enabling pupils to explore interesting topics that encourage them to be inquisitive in their learning, alongside enriching social and cultural experiences. The inspector noted that pupils understand democracy, respect and equality as well as the importance to eradicate radicalisation and terrorism.
Access to an exciting and diverse range of enrichment activities is providing pupils with valuable life skills, equipping them well for their future. The Wettest Classroom was given as a prime example, with the inspector noting that “the school’s motto, ‘where everything’s possible’ is tangible throughout the school.” Attendance at Venturers’ Academy is consistently above the national average, which the inspector said is a reflection of the fact that pupils enjoy school.
Pupils’ behaviour was described by the inspector as outstanding, with good behaviour inspired by staff who “model kindness, consideration and courtesy”. Staff were also praised for “understanding pupils’ needs exceptionally well and managing their complex needs with expertise”.
The academy’s leadership team received glowing praise, with governors and trustees described as “effective” and “accurately aware of the school’s strengths and weaknesses”.
Principal of Venturers’ Academy, Trystan Williams, said: “We are delighted with the report, which reflects the wonderful work that we have all been doing as a school community. We feel incredibly proud of our students who consistently demonstrate a positive attitude and a love of learning. We are embarking on a period of positive transformation and growth, and this report confirms that we are in a very strong position to move forward with confidence to make our educational provision even better.”
Chair of Trustees, Gail Bragg, said: “Any visitor to Venturers’ Academy would be struck by the enthusiasm and zest for life that is embraced by students and staff. They grasp every opportunity to try something new and place no limit on what can be achieved. The inspector clearly recognised that the progress pupils make in this high-quality provision ensures that they are well prepared for the next stage of their education.”