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School in Wembley goes from special measures to ‘outstanding’

A school has turned itself around completely from being put into special measures by Ofsted to being rated ‘outstanding’.

The North West London school now has students competing to raise as much money for charity as possible, and older kids cook and serve food at a community kitchen.

It’s a far cry from where the Wembley school was just six years ago, when inspectors said that pupils’ needs, abilities and aspirations were not being well supported and gave it one of the worst outcomes for an inspection.

The headteacher has credited Ark Elvin Academy staff’s ‘hard work’ for the transformation.

Formerly known as Copeland Community School, the school has seen incremental improvements since being put into special measures. Successive Ofsted inspections have seen it go from ‘requires improvement’ in 2017, ‘good’ in 2019, and most recently ‘outstanding’ in all areas.

Following the June inspection, the subsequent Ofsted report noted children understand that ‘all staff have their best interest at heart’ and praised the leadership for delivering a ‘highly ambitious curriculum’.

This resulted in ‘exceptional achievement across the subjects taught’, which included the new sixth form. Almost all pupils in the first cohort of this vocational qualification were offered a university place last summer.

The school also offers pupils the opportunity to participate in around 60 ‘enrichment activities’, both inside and outside of school time.

The report says: “Year 9 classes compete in raising the most funds for each class’s chosen charity. Sixth-form students prepared the food and served it at a weekly community kitchen for members of the local community. Students also help teachers and pupils in the lower years, such as during sports and games.”

Actions of the leaders were described as ‘predicated on the highest ambitions and expectations’ and, as a result, pupils ‘thrive in this warm, purposeful and safe community’. Inspectors found they were ‘fully committed to equality and inclusion’ and were praised for the steps they take to ensure all pupils achieve.

This is a complete reversal from how inspectors viewed the school just six years ago. The report published in 2017 said the teaching was’typically not challenging enough’, the curriculum was ‘not ensuring that all pupils’ needs, abilities and aspirations are being well supported’ and pupils from a Black ethnic origin were ‘disadvantaged and underachieving’.

Executive Principal Rebecca Curtis praised ‘all team Elvin’s hard work’ for the dramatic turnaround. She said, “Our community needs and deserves a great school. The team at Elvin have worked tirelessly to deliver just that, and we are delighted that Ofsted has recognised the progress made.”

She added: “We are excited to provide an exceptional education for our pupils every day. And every day, our pupils make us proud with their hard work, deep thinking, and achievements in school and beyond.”