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Celebrations at King Edward VI Balaam Wood Academy as the “vibrant school community” receives a full suite of “Good” ratings from Ofsted

King Edward VI Balaam Wood Academy has been rated “Good” in all areas by Ofsted, in a hugely positive report following an inspection earlier this year.

It is the first time in 18 years that the school, which was previously known as Frankley Community High School/Balaam Wood School, has been rated “Good” by Ofsted, recognising the journey the school has been on since it joined the King Edward VI Foundation in 2019.

Ofsted highlights how pupils and staff are “rightly proud of how much Balaam Wood has improved over recent years”, describing a “vibrant community” where: “Daily life reflects the school’s values of being bold, ambitious, collaborative and kind.”

It assessed the school in the following areas:

  • Overall effectiveness: Good
  • The quality of education: Good
  • Behaviour and attitudes: Good
  • Personal development: Good
  • Leadership and management: Good

Inspectors who visited the Frankley-based school at the end of January commented on its "significant changes”. Particularly highlighted were the strides made in the quality of education, including changes to the curriculum and how learning is structured, and the attendance and behaviour progress across the school.

Damian McGarvey, Headteacher at King Edward VI Balaam Wood Academy, said: “We are so incredibly proud of our pupils, staff and wider school community for the part they have played at Balaam Wood over the last few years. We have felt such support from our governors, partners and colleagues across the King Edward VI Foundation and the result is that our local community has a school that it can be rightly proud of. This is such an achievement, only made possible by the hard work and determination of everyone who has been part of our journey.

“This is by no means a reason to slow the pace, and we fully intend to take on board all the inspection findings and continue to strive towards excellence.”

Jodh Dhesi, Chief Executive Officer of the King Edward VI Foundation, which includes the King Edward VI Academy Trust, of which the school is a part, said: “Everyone at the King Edward VI Foundation sends their sincerest congratulations to Damian and his staff team, governors, pupils and parents at Balaam Wood Academy on receipt of this tremendous Ofsted report.

“Our Foundation does not use ‘collaboration’ as a buzzword – it is truly what we are about – and Balaam Wood’s story is an example of true collaboration in action with the Foundation’s Education Department, led by our Director of Education, Julie Waddington, being an integral part of the team at Balaam Wood in recent years. We are quite simply delighted at the outcome.”

Findings in the Ofsted report include:

  • “Pupils know that staff have high expectations of them and want them to be successful.”
  • “Older pupils talk about how much behaviour and learning have improved during their time at the school.”
  • “Pupils enjoy the opportunities that they have to learn beyond the classroom, including residential trips and author visits. Many pupils make the most of the extracurricular activities on offer. This includes many clubs, police cadets, the newly launched Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the various strands of the school’s partnership with Birmingham City Football Club.”
  • “The curriculum is broad and learned by all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Each subject has a carefully sequenced curriculum that helps pupils to learn well over time.”
  • “The school has introduced useful learning strategies that are used consistently across the curriculum. This aids pupils’ learning as the approaches are familiar to them.”
  • “The identification and support for pupils with SEND are strong.”
  • “Personal development is a strength. Pupils benefit from a well-planned personal, social, health and economic curriculum that is taught by a small team of expert staff.”
  • “The trust has provided considerable support for Balaam Wood since the school joined them. It has implemented robust improvement plans successfully and this is enabling the school to flourish.”
  • “Powerful assemblies” and helpful advice and guidance about future choices, whatever pupils’ career aspirations, are also highlighted.

Since Balaam Wood joined the King Edward VI Foundation in 2019, staff at the school and Foundation have worked closely together to ensure that the quality of education, leadership and management, behaviour, and attitudes, as well as personal development, have grown and improved. This glowing report is testament to that hard work.

The full report can be found on the school's website at https://bwa.kevibham.org/academy-information/ofsted/