Inspectors visited the school at the start of October and have rated it as “inadequate”, but their report clearly recognises the hard work and success of Principal David Hayes since his arrival at the academy, supported by his leadership team, to overcome historic challenges and turn it around. He has been assisted by the council’s support service - School Improvement Liverpool.
Ofsted found teaching is improving but that not enough of it is good yet. Pupils behave well but do not attend enough, while not all are keen to work as hard as they could - and some do not expect enough of themselves.
They discovered high morale among staff who are on board with the Principal’s vision, which has been boosted by permanent appointments to replace supply teachers, and recognised that a new Governing body is now holding the leadership team to account. There is now a focus from heads of year on academic progress and attendance rather than solely pastoral care.
Significantly, pupil numbers have risen over the last two years for the first time in a long time thanks to the school working to improve its reputation and reaching out to the local community, such as creating a room that can be used by local groups, running intergenerational projects and setting up a community choir. Increased numbers on roll will put it on a firm financial footing and secure its long term future.
Principal David Hayes said: “The overall judgement makes uncomfortable reading and we are all disappointed, but accept it is a very fair reflection of where the Academy is at this moment in time.
“Everyone involved in De La Salle Academy - myself, the staff, governors and pupils, understands that while we are making fast progress, we have got a way to go and that not enough of our young people are achieving their full potential. This is something I am personally committed and dedicated to overcoming, as I expect the best for our young people.
“We are already on with tackling the historic issues the inspectors have found and are focusing relentlessly on making sure teaching is consistently good throughout the school, that we support families to make sure that pupils attend regularly and really challenge our young people to set high standards for themselves.
“I am grateful for the support I have received from everyone in the school community, along with School Improvement Liverpool who are helping me and my team make the changes needed, and this work is ongoing.
“This is an Academy that is on the up and I know that when the inspectors return for their monitoring visits they will see further improvements."
“Everyone here is determined to make sure we are re-graded as soon as possible.”
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for schools, Councillor Nick Small, said: “David Hayes is doing a fantastic job in turning around a school which had been in decline for a number of years before his appointment, supported by his staff and working in close partnership with pupils and their families.
“We are absolutely determined to make all of our schools as good as they can possibly be, which is why School Improvement Liverpool is supporting the school.
“Our commitment is reflected in the Liverpool Promise which we launched recently in partnership with schools, with an ambition to make education in our city the best in the country.”
The school will be holding a Parents Forum in the next few weeks to give them the chance to share their views and ask any questions and is looking forward to meeting as many as possible and discuss ways they can support the academy and pupils on its journey to improvement.