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Ward School News

Ward School News

JMA- “A rapid process of transformation”-Ofsted.

Ashley outside of JMA.

“Leaders have created a calm and orderly environment. Pupils treat each other with respect”-JMA Ofsted report.

It was the above quote from John Madejski academies latest Ofsted report that resonated with me most after just having visited the school and impressive new head Laura Ellener. As a teacher myself, Ward Coucnillor for many of JMA’s students and Chair of Governors of nearby Ridgeway Primary, I was delighted at the recent Ofsted report that showed great improvement. Work to do, but on the right track with the right people.

As soon as you walk through the gates you notice how calm and quiet the school is, there is clearly a purposeful atmosphere. The reception was warm and welcoming (always a good indicator of a school!) & I was met by the Principal Laura Ellener. The Principal brings with her a dedicated team driven by improving the school. A tour of the premises demonstrated some wonderful facilities including a pristine sixth form block, excellent sporting and ICT facilities. The classrooms I dropped into had an excellent learning culture and engaged students.

The school has been through many different guises and changes throughout the years but I am convinced it is finally on the right path. A strong Governing body including two head teachers, a new trust about to lend its support, local collaboration with the Whitley Excellence Cluster and a driven senior leadership team has seen this rapid process of transformation that Ofsted has noted. Hopefully Ofsted will be back in a couple of years to note even further improvement.

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John Madejski academy shows rapid improvement

South Reading secondary school the John Madejski academy has undergone a rapid improvement in standards in the last year, Schools regulator Ofsted have said. The school continues its journey to an outstanding school and is now out of special measures. The staff team lead by Principal Laura Ellener have shown great determination and spirit to keep the school improving. More can be read on the schools website

New Ofsted grading for JMA after “rapid process of transformation”

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New Directions reopens in Whitley

Mayor Rose Williams opening the new facility by JMA.

Ofsted rated good adult education centre new directions reopened its doors after a quarter of a million pound refurbished. The new site is next to John Madejski academy on Northumberland Avenue and will now again being providing a range of courses to help adults learn. More can be read here.

*Photo courtesy of The Whitley Pump.

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Good bye and thank you to Primary heads

 

Two of our Primary school head teachers in South Reading have recently retired after many years service in our schools. Charlie Clare after many years dedicated service heading up Geoffrey Field Junior took a hugely deserved retirement. As well as Charlie, Madelaine Cosgrove retired after overseeing The Ridgeway school expansion in recent years. We wish them the best of luck and rest in their future endeavours.

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Sure Start Whitley rated Outstanding

A Sure Start centre in Whitley that gives children a secure start in life has been rated as outstanding in its latest Ofsted report. It’s these Sure Start centres that Labour introduced that help close the gaps in society and that are under threat from Tory party cuts. The centre was praised for its safeguarding procedures and relationship with parents. A huge congratulations to all involved. More can be read about the report here:

SureStart Whitley maintain their ‘Good’ Ofsted Judgement

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Whitley Excellence cluster school Council meet Cllr Pearce

New block at Reading girls school

Cllr Pearce was delighted to be a guest at the latest WEC schools Council meeting held at the new building of Reading Girls school. The impressive new building held host to students from Geoffrey Field, Ridgeway, Chirst the King, New Christchurch and of course Reading Girls. Students from age ranges of 7-16 shared their views on their role models, local facilities, transport, education and the state of school meals! They also quizzed Cllr Pearce on his idols and the local library. A big thank you to everyone involved, a great show case for the young people of Whitley.

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Conservative Cuts threatens Schools Success

Schools in Reading are improving, but this progress is now at risk with big cuts in central government grants about to be handed down by the Tory Government. The number of GCSE passes at Grade A*-C, including English and Maths has risen, Reading retains its top spot in the national table of ‘A’ Level achievement and Reading’s primary school children are performing above the national average.
There is significant improvement in outcomes for students at Key Stage 2 (Primary), Key stage 4 (GCSE) and Key Stage 5 (A Level) in 2016. In particular: 64.1% of students achieved A*-C in both English and Mathematics, the Attainment 8 progress figures ranks Reading at 39th out of 152 Local Authorities and Reading’s key stage 2 results ranks us at 50th out of 152 local authorities compared to 103rd last year.
But these improvements are at risk, with the Local Government Association warning that the Tory Government intend to cut the £450 million budget covering school improvement work to just £50 million later this year. In addition, schools are facing massive cuts to their budgets with some schools in Reading facing a cut of up to £920 per pupil, which could fund 18 teachers. Reading’s MPs consistently vote for these cuts, they must now stand up for Reading’s schools and demand that no school in Reading faces a cut to its funding.

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Ridgeway primary new building official opening

Ridgeway Primary school will be celebrating its official opening this Friday with a visit from Tony Jones the lead member for Education. The schools expansion demonstrates the Council’s commitment to excellent school facilities in the borough and in South Reading in particular. Ridgeway holds a special place in Cllr Ashley Pearce’s heart, as a Governor at the school for the past 3 years he has helped oversee the expansion. More detail about the opening can be read here.

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Students receive A level results

Young people in Reading received their A level results yesterday with Reading students results as a whole being in line with the national average. Locally at JMA 50% of students received A*-B grades and 75% received A-C grades. Well done to all! More can be read from the Get Reading site here.

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Reading key stage 2 results above the national average

PUPILS in Reading achieved results above the national average in this year’s tests for 11-year-olds for the first time in ten years.
The tests taken in May 2016 by Year 6 pupils are the first to assess the new and more challenging national curriculum which was introduced in September 2014.
In the 2016 results, 54.4% of Year 6 pupils in Reading reached the new expected standard in the combined measure of the reading, writing and mathematics tests. This is higher than the national average of 53%.
This is the first time in over 10 years that Reading pupils in Year 6 have risen above the national average in the combined score, which is a critical measure in relation to the government’s floor standards.
Attainment by Reading pupils in writing was 75.8%, above the national percentage at 74%. In the reading test 65% of pupils achieved the expected standard, compared with 66% nationally. In the mathematics test, 67.7% of pupils achieved the standard compared with 70% nationally. In the grammar, punctuation and spelling 74.7% of pupils reached the expected standard compared to 74% nationally.
Councillor Tony Jones, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Education, said:
“I’m particularly pleased for the children and staff, within all schools and academies, who have worked in close partnership to achieve results which are above the national average.
“While not being complacent or thinking this is high enough, it is important to note this is the best overall results for Year 6 Reading children in 10 years, in terms of the national picture. This puts those children who have done well in a good position as they start their secondary education.
“I would like to congratulate all pupils and their families on their individual achievements.”
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Ashley attends Ridgeway Governor day

Inside the new block

Inside the new block

Ashley recently attended an all day Governors day at Ridgeway Primary school where he was able to meet staff, eat lunch with students, scrutinise data performance and tour the new block. Ridgeway has been one of the schools most affected by the Council’s ambitious Primary phase expansion as it will grow to a three form entry. The new school look built around a quad contains a fabulous new look building. The building contains a new hall, canteen as well as classrooms kitted with interactive white boards and break out areas. Huge thanks to Mrs Cosgrove and all of her staff in the work that goes on every day at the school.

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New Ridgeway block open

Ashley outside the new block.

Ashley outside the new block.

Ashley was able to see the great work that has gone in to setting up Ridgeways new block. Open for the spring term, the new building includes a new hall, offices and reception. Access to visitors is now only via the Whitley Wood Road entrance and the build has been completed on time. The rest of the buildings rare progressing on time and are due to be fully operational soon. It demonstrates Reading Councils great work in its primary expansion programme.

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Reading First gathers pace

Ashley was in attendance at the latest Reading First conference on Monday where Head teachers, Governors, Councillors and Council officers met to discuss the future of Reading schools. The aim is to create a collective group where all local schools will work closely together to help and support each other improve. More can be read about it here

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Resolution on teachers pay

Ashley will be asking the Council to back a resolution on bringing the London fringe allowance to Reading at Tuesday’s Full Council meeting. Teachers as far as Bracknell and Maidenhead receive an extra £1000 a year in pay to take cost of living into consideration. This puts Reading teachers, schools and students at a disadvantage compared to nearby authorities and this is something we want to rectify. The full resolution can be seen below

Draft resolution on Teachers pay

The resolution on teachers pay at the Council meeting can be viewed here

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Council committed to helping JMA

Reading Borough Council is promising to work with the John Madejski Academy and education bodies to improve standards of education for schoolchildren in South Reading .

The academy, in Northumberland Avenue, Whitley, which is not controlled by the council, was put into special measures this week following an OFSTED inspection in November 2015.
Councillor Tony Jones, Reading’s lead councillor for education, said:

“We are obviously disappointed with the outcome of the recent inspection of John Madejski Academy and the council is determined to see action taken which will provide the quality of education children in South Reading deserve.
“The council will work closely with the academy and the Department for Education Academies Division alongside OFSTED to create an effective and long-term solution to the current unsatisfactory situation. We are adamant all students in Reading should be provided with the opportunity to succeed and that any gaps in achievement are narrowed and closed, particularly for our more vulnerable children.

“The local authority is committed to ensuring John Madejski Academy makes fast and sustainable progress towards these aims and we will work closely with the Regional Schools Commissioner and the DfE Academies division to ensure that whatever support is required will be put in place.

“Although John Madejski Academy is not a maintained school controlled by the local authority and is guided by the DfE Academies Division, the council is keen to work with all parties to ensure that the students obtain the education that all of our children in Reading”.

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Reading Girls School rebuild continues

Reading girls

The school rebuild continues

The impressive rebuild of Reading Girls school in the ward continues under the leadership of Head Mistress Viv Angus.  Church Councillors were recently able to see for themselves how quickly the structure is taking shape.  The new facilities will provide an excellent learning space for students and staff alike.

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