A WHITCHURCH school has been rated 'good' by Ofsted in its first inspection since it was turned into an academy. 

Whitchurch Church of England Junior Academy was inspected in July this year – at the end of the summer term – and received the rating.

It was the first rating the school has received since it converted to academy status as part of the St Bart’s Multi Academy Trust in 2019.

Inspectors, who carried out a two-day visit on Tuesday, July 11 and Wednesday, July 12, rated the school as good across all areas, with reserved praise for new principal Chris Brislen.

“In the relatively short time that the new principal has been working at the school, he has made changes that have significantly improved all aspects of the school,” they said.


“Leaders have focused on the right things in the right order.

“They have high expectations of pupils. Because of this, pupils are learning a well-planned curriculum. Leaders’ highest priority is improving reading.

“Pupils have access to high-quality books and often read and are read to.

“Pupils are excited about the new book vending machine that they have raised money to buy. Leaders have established new ways of helping pupils to improve their behaviour, which all staff follow consistently. Pupils value the new rewards and house systems.

“Staff quickly deal with any poor behaviour, including any incidents of bullying. As a result, pupils’ behaviour is good. Pupils love coming to school and they attend often. Pupils are excited to tell visitors all about the positive changes that are happening at their school.

“They especially loved the mobile swimming pool that was brought to school. Leaders seek and act on pupils’ opinions about how to improve the school.

“Pupils value the fact that they are listened to. They frequently talk about becoming the ‘very best version of themselves’.”

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More praise was given to school leaders over ‘their clear vision to provide pupils with the very best education’ and also praised safeguarding,

However, some issues were raised around teacher’s subject knowledge.

They said: “In most lessons, teachers have the subject knowledge they need to deliver the curriculum well. However, this is not always the case.

“Where subject knowledge is not as secure, pupils are not always taught the important things they need to succeed.

“Leaders regularly check how well teachers are implementing the new curriculum and provide appropriate support to staff, when needed.”

There was also criticism of how assessment was applied in the classrooms by teachers.