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Mark Hall Academy earns ‘Good’ Ofsted rating

Mark Hall Academy in Harlow, Essex has been praised for its commitment to raising standards and the significant improvement the secondary school has made since becoming an academy, which led to a rating of ‘Good’ from Ofsted inspectors this month.

Mark Hall Academy, part of the Academy Transformation Trust (ATT) family, was graded ‘Good’ in all categories – the second highest mark possible. Before becoming an academy on 1 September 2013, it was rated ‘Inadequate’, the lowest rating.

The Ofsted rating is the culmination in a year full of praise for the ATT academy, including plaudits from the DfE following a monitoring visit and being the only secondary school in Harlow to see an increase in the percentage of pupils achieving five or more A* – C grades for GCSE exams in 2015.

During the most recent Ofsted inspection the academy’s leaders, managers and governors were applauded for their commitment to raising standards which inspectors noted is ‘clearly having an impact’.

In particular, inspectors acknowledged that, ‘Teaching is of good quality and engages pupils’ interest well. Teachers have good subject knowledge and most use assessment well to make sure pupils make the progress of which they are capable. Teachers have raised their expectations of what pupils can achieve and this is evidenced in the work that pupils produce.’

Inspectors also praised the efforts of Principal Corinne Franceschi. She ‘has clearly made her mark on improving this school since its opening in 2013. She has a clear vision for the school that is shared by teachers, pupils and parents. The school has made great gains since opening and continues to improve.’

Pupils were also applauded for their behaviour, ‘The behaviour of pupils is outstanding.’ Inspectors also noted their positive attitudes, ‘Attitudes towards learning are positive. They arrive at lessons well equipped and ready to learn.’

The report commended the academy’s sponsor ATT, stating that The Trust ‘monitored very closely the progress the school has made since opening through its progress improvement board. This board meets termly and holds the school’s leaders to account well.’

Joyce Hodgetts, Managing Director of Academy Transformation Trust, said: “We are extremely pleased with the incredible progress that Mark Hall Academy has made since its conversion to an academy in 2013.

“Corinne and her team have worked tirelessly with a clear vision to ensure that staff and pupils focus on achieving their very best and this has now been recognised by Ofsted.

“Mark Hall Academy is an excellent example of the progress that can be made with determination and we are confident that Corinne will continue this progress and take the academy to ‘Outstanding’.

“Well done to Corinne and to the staff and pupils at the academy for all of their hard work.”

Corinne Franceschi, Principal, said: “Naturally I am delighted with this report as it reflects the efforts of every member of the Mark Hall Academy community to raise standards and to ensure that the academy is one that we can all be extremely proud to be a part of.

“It is only three years ago that the predecessor Mark Hall School was seventeenth from bottom of all state-funded secondary schools nationally and in a desperate state.

“We now have the official confirmation of our hard earned transformation from Ofsted.

“I particularly want to thank staff and pupils for having faith in our vision and for responding so positively to our common goal.

“I would also like to thank all the parents and carers who have supported the academy over the last three years. Achieving this success is a team effort and requires unrelenting hard work, commitment and total belief.

“This is obviously a landmark in our journey to an overall judgement of ‘Outstanding’ by the time Ofsted visit us again. I am certain, with the support and hard work of the academy community, that this goal is an achievable one and I look forward to continuing to work with you as we endeavour to make Mark Hall Academy the very best that it can be.”

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