Rockwood Academy named in top 20 per cent of schools nationally for pupil progress

A school in Birmingham is celebrating after being named among the best in the country for pupil progress.

Rockwood Academy in Alum Rock, which is run by CORE Education Trust, has been nationally recognised by the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT) for its exceptional performance in 2015.

Analysis of educational outcomes data by SSAT has shown that the school is in the top 20% nationally for progress made by its pupils between their key stage 2 SATs results at primary school and their key stage 4 GCSE results.

The school’s SSAT Educational Outcomes award was presented to Rockwood Academy’s Principal Fuzel Choudhury in May at an event celebrating the work of high-achieving, improving and innovating schools and teachers.

The news comes after Rockwood Academy was last month removed from special measures and rated ‘good’ by education watchdog Ofsted.

Mr Choudhury was praised by Ofsted for his “passion and determination” which had “brought about rapid and considerable improvements to the quality of education.”

Fuzel Choudhury, who was appointed Principal at Rockwood Academy in September last year, said: “I am absolutely delighted to accept this award on behalf of the staff and pupils at the school, who have all worked incredibly hard in what has been a turbulent and challenging period.

“Our pupils are at the heart of all we do; our focus is on giving them the education they deserve to progress to achieve their full potential.

“I am very proud of all of our pupils and I thank them and their families for their dedication and continued support as Rockwood continues on its amazing journey of recovery.”

Adrian Packer, CEO of CORE Education Trust, added: “We are delighted to see Rockwood Academy growing from strength-to-strength and this latest award is yet another indictment of how the hard work of Principal Fuzel Choudhury and the rest of his team is reaping rewards.

“We are continually striving to achieve the highest academic standards and results for our pupils and we are delighted that they have made such incredible progress, particularly when they have previously faced a period of such adversity.

“My congratulations go to all of Rockwood Academy’s teaching and support staff and the pupils themselves, who fully deserve this cause for celebration.”

Sue Williamson, Chief Executive of SSAT said: ‘It’s my great pleasure to commend Rockwood Academy on its excellent 2015 performance, and to have the opportunity to highlight and share its great work at the SSAT Educational Outcomes celebration evening.

“I have the privilege of visiting a lot of schools and I am always impressed by the creativity of teachers in engaging and inspiring their students.

“I hope that SSAT’s Educational Outcomes award will highlight the professionalism, commitment and hard work of the leaders, teachers and students at Rockwood Academy.

“Recognising and sharing successes like this is at the heart of SSAT’s mission, so I’m delighted to congratulate Rockwood Academy on their achievement.”

In Ofsted’s latest inspection of Rockwood Academy, in Naseby Road, inspectors were left impressed by the efforts made by all to transform the school, which has 590 pupils aged 11 to 16.

Meanwhile Nansen Primary, located opposite Rockwood Academy and also run by CORE Education Trust, was also last month removed from special measures and rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

For Nansen, which educates 930 pupils aged three to 11, it is the best overall rating the school has ever received from Ofsted in its entire 90-year history.

Cath Rindl has been interim head teacher at the school since April 2015 and will take on the position permanently from September 2016.

Mrs Rindl said: “Our Ofsted rating is incredible news and testament to the hard work of all those involved in the running of Nansen – from the committed teaching staff, governors and everyone at the Trust who place the children at the centre of everything they do.

“It has been both a challenging yet exciting time working to secure the school’s transformation with the guidance of Ofsted.

“We are lucky to have been given such fantastic support from our pupils’ parents and the wider community to help us sail through what has been a turbulent time to secure a much calmer and successful future.

“And we do not want to stop at ‘good’ – my aim is to create an outstanding academy, which will be one of Birmingham’s top performing primaries.”

In its report, Ofsted praised Mrs Rindl as “an excellent leader” and “highly ambitious”.

Meanwhile, CORE Education Trust, Rockwood Academy and Nansen Primary were praised by Ofsted for their “pioneering” work with external organisations to promote British values – including a scheme which has seen both academies becoming a School of Tennis in an initiative by the Lawn Tennis Association.

The Trust and schools have been lavished with praise after Ofsted published its latest inspections.

Following a visit to Rockwood Academy and Nansen Primary earlier this month, National Schools Commissioner Sir David Carter, wrote to CORE Education Trust’s CEO Adrian Packer, saying: “It was great to hear from you and others in the Trust about the journey you have taken over the past 18-20 months.

“You should all be rightfully proud of what you have achieved so far.

“The enthusiasm and good practice that was evident in all the classes that we visited are a testament to their hard work and commitment to ensuring the best outcomes for the learners in both schools.

“The progress that has been made by the Trust to receive the ‘good’ judgements from Ofsted is an enormous achievement, and I can see that the governance, support and strategies are in place to continue progress.

“I look forward to working with you in the future and following Core Education Trust’s continuing success.”

Writing on behalf of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, his Private Secretary Jessica Hollywood said: “Sir Michael was thrilled to read that both Rockwood Academy and Nansen Primary have been judged to be ‘good’ and have now been removed from special measures.

“Sir Michael asked me to extend his congratulations to you and your team for the noteworthy achievement of turning around the fortunes of these two schools.”

Colin Diamond, Executive Director of Education at Birmingham City Council, penned personal letters to Mrs Rindl, Mr Choudhury and Mr Packer.

In one he wrote: “I write to congratulate you on your magnificent achievement in securing ‘good’ grades.

“The reports make brilliant reading – all the more so when we remember how troubled the schools were in 2014.”

Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP for Rutland and Melton, wrote: “I just wanted to write personally to congratulate you for the hugely impressive job you have been doing.

“It is no mean feat to turn around a school which has faced such a barrage of criticism and loss of morale, but your whole approach was entirely constructive and refreshing.”