Castle Academy celebrates Ofsted “Good” in all categories

Castle Academy is celebrating a “Good” judgement from Ofsted, having joined the Astrea Academy Trust with an “Inadequate” rating.

Castle Academy in Conisbrough joined the Astrea Academy Trust in June 2016. At the time, Ofsted inspectors noted concerns over the leadership and management of the school. In the May 2019 Ofsted inspection, the new head and assistant head were instead described as “inspirational leaders” who have “introduced significant improvements with energy and determination”.

Ofsted noted that the leadership has inspired the staff and made rapid improvements that have had a significant impact on the quality of education, notably:

  • Working in close partnership with Astrea which provides effective support and development that has enabled the academy to improve;
  • Pupils in all year groups are making strong progress in a wide range of subjects, including in English and Maths;
  • The recently appointed principal, Ann-Marie Mason, has been unwavering in her determination to eradicate all aspects of underperformance and ensure an excellent standard of education for pupils; and
  • New systems, procedures and approaches resulting in improved pupil behaviour and resilience, improved quality of teaching, effective assessment of pupils’ work, and well-thought-out sequences of lessons.

The report also highlights the wide-range of extra-curricular clubs and activities that are available to pupils as part of the Astrea Promise, with a particular emphasis on how passionately the pupils spoke to inspectors about the different challenges they complete as part of the programme; including trips to France, camping, and running their own business.

Ofsted also praised the early years provision at Castle Academy, noting that children make a strong start and leave Reception well prepared for Year 1. They were particularly impressed with the way parents are extensively involved in supporting their child’s learning through daily morning activities.

Ann-Marie Mason, Principal of Castle Academy, part of the Astrea Academy Trust, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be judged as “Good” by Ofsted. It is a true testament to all the hard work and commitment of all our staff and pupils. It is wonderful that all our staff say they are proud to work here, and I am honoured to work with them. Hearing that our pupils want to make the school a better place is what it’s all about for me.”

Libby Nicholas, Chief Executive of Astrea Academy Trust said: “Turning a school around is no easy task – it is a phenomenal achievement to go from being recognised as “Inadequate” before joining Astrea to “Good” today. Most importantly though, these significant improvements mean that our promise to provide an education that inspires beyond measure is coming true for Castle Academy pupils. This Ofsted judgement marks an important further step towards that – huge congratulations to Ann-Marie Mason and her inspirational team for all of their hard work and determination.”