A Westminster school that was in special measures two years ago, has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. The first school to be sponsored by Future – a charity founded by John and Caroline Nash to transform the lives of underprivileged young people – Pimlico Academy has made rapid progress, increasing the number of pupils achieving five A*-C grades at GCSE (including maths and English) by 23 per cent in just two years.
The Ofsted report stated: “Principal Jerry Collins’ outstanding vision and leadership of his staff has ensured a true equality and high quality of educational opportunities for all students to excel.”
“Students’ outcomes at individual level and by group are rigorously monitored in line with the equalities policy, and interventions and curriculum strategies are shaped accordingly following evaluation. This excellent practice has contributed to the cohesive community within the academy, as has the enormous range of productive external partnerships”, it continued.
John Nash, Chairman of Governors, Pimlico Academy and Chairman of Future, comments: ‘We are thrilled to have received outstanding Ofsted recognition for the transformation of Pimlico Academy over the past two years. Given our very diverse population, we are particularly proud to have achieved ‘Outstanding’ for equality. The ethos at the Academy is founded on our core belief that everyone, whatever their background or personal circumstances, can achieve their full potential. This rating shows that this belief is realised throughout the Academy.”
On average, students enter the Academy with a reading age up to 17 months below their actual age. Various programmes have been implemented to help achieve a culture whereby all students have high aspirations. For students joining in Year 7 with particularly low reading ages, Pimlico provides ‘Bridge Groups’ in which students are mainly taught by trained primary school teachers and have additional support to improve their reading skills. Future introduced a Raising Aspirations programme which has so far brought in 116 speakers to the school and arranged for many students to visit businesses and universities.
In 2009, Pimlico Academy set up a team of Graduate Intervention Tutors to work with students who were falling behind their target grades. These high calibre graduates from Russell Group Universities work with students across all years of the Academy on a one-to-one basis and in small groups to provide additional support.
Jerry Collins, Principal, Pimlico Academy, enthuses: “The response from many stakeholders has been symptomatic of how far the Academy has come in its first two years, with one parent commenting that ‘the change has been nothing short of amazing’ and a visiting business leader commented on ‘the great progress in a very short time’. It also clearly demonstrates the success of the staff’s focus on raising aspirations, having the highest expectations of every child and delivering high quality provision in all aspects of school life.”
He concludes: “Our vision has always been to make Pimlico Academy one of the highest achieving schools in London, state or private, and the outstanding Ofsted recognition affirms that we have made a fantastic start in realising this vision. This is very much the beginning of a journey that will see Pimlico Academy become one of the most highly regarded schools in London.”