Venturers’ Academy welcomes Ofqual Chief

Students at Venturers’ Academy have been given the chance to share their views on what could help them achieve their ambitions.

Representatives from the student council put their questions to Dr Jo Saxton, head of the qualifications agency Ofqual; and Hannah Woodhouse, the South West Regional Schools Commissioner. They had conversations about the length of exams, the right environment for sitting them and the importance of gaining maths and English qualifications.

The students were reassured that they would be given every opportunity to gain the qualifications they needed to move on to the next steps in their lives. The education leaders, who were given a tour of the academy’s new Gatehouse Avenue site, also met staff, governors and parent representatives.

Dr Jo Saxton, Chief Regulator at Ofqual, said: “Today’s visit to Venturers’ Academy has been both insightful and inspiring. Fairness is foremost in my mind when I think about exams next year, and students’ interests drive our decisions. That of course includes students with special educational needs, so my conversations with young people about their hopes and concerns were really helpful and informative.

“The visit also reinforced to me that, whatever the benefits of online learning, students really do progress when they are learning in wonderful buildings like Venturers’ Academy.”

Trystan Williams, Executive Lead for Primaries and Special Academies at Venturers Trust, said: “We were honoured to welcome Dr Jo Saxton and Hannah Woodhouse to the academy. We are extremely proud of the young people who spoke to our visitors, articulating so clearly their hopes and dreams and the possible obstacles they might face in an exam setting.

“We hope their comments will influence policies to support other young people with special education needs and disabilities.

“The first group of Venturers’ Academy students to undergo national assessments at age 16 this summer achieved excellent outcomes and we aim to help them, and those who follow them, to build on that success and go on to lead fulfilling lives.”