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Ofsted says “high expectations” making a difference at improving Wayland Junior Academy

Ofsted inspectors have highlighted the “high expectations” of senior leaders, who “are ambitious” for Wayland Junior Academy Watton, and whose “strong determination is now starting to make a positive difference to pupils’ achievement.”

Wayland Junior’s principal, Nicola Kaye, says that further improvements, which are already underway, will see the academy continue to progress towards a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating. 

The positive and caring ethos throughout Wayland Junior Academy is highlighted in the report, with inspectors noting that “Pupils, staff and parents say that pupils feel safe in school.” The report adds that pupils are “polite and courteous” and “They take good care of each other.”  The pastoral support provided to vulnerable pupils is also praised as “a strength of the school.” 

Another area of strength that the Ofsted inspectors commented on is the contribution of the academy’s Teaching Assistants, who “work effectively with teachers in supporting pupils to access their work.”

Inspectors said that the school offers a “broad and balanced curriculum”, that it makes effective use of pupil premium funding and funding for special educational needs and/or disabilities, and provides a “well led and managed” specialist resource base that has seen students using this facility make “rapid progress from their individual starting points.”

The overall rating of ‘Requires Improvement’ underscores the progress that has been made since the school joined the TEN Group in 2014.  It represents an important step forward since the school’s last Ofsted inspection in November 2013, then as Watton Junior School, when it was graded as ‘Inadequate’.

The support provided by the TEN Group, through “experienced and effective leaders”, is recognised by the inspectors as having made an important contribution to Wayland Junior Academy’s recent progress. 

Inspectors say the support from the TEN Group has “helped the school to identify areas for improvement, and given opportunities for the teachers to work closely with colleagues from other schools. This has improved both the quality of teaching and pupils’ outcomes.”

To improve further, the report says the academy needs to accelerate improvements already made in leadership and management and ensure more teaching is consistently good across the school. 

It also says that outcomes for pupils can be improved by “embedding the now effective support” for disadvantaged pupils and “ensuring that the most able pupils are better challenged to achieve the higher standard of which they are capable.”

Wayland Junior Academy Watton has in place plans to make improvements on these and other key areas identified in the report and to build on the many positives acknowledged by Ofsted.

Nicola Kaye, Principal, Wayland Junior Academy Watton, commented:

“The governors and senior leadership team are pleased that Ofsted recognised the journey that the academy has been on since the previous school was judged to be in Special Measures in November 2013.  We are delighted that they recognise that our pastoral support and safeguarding practices are particular strengths of the school.  We recognise that we have areas we need to improve upon and are very confident that our improvement plans will address these and this report provides evidence that we are progressing on our journey towards becoming a ‘Good’ school.”

The full inspection is now available to download from the Ofsted web site at