Following the recent section 5 Ofsted inspection of Bower Park Academy, the final report has now
been published. ln summary, the inspection team felt that the low outcomes at GCSE for 2015 and
2016 were the result of leadership and governance during that time lacking pace, rigour and
consistency, which led to a failure to improve the quality of teaching and learning and consequently
the outcomes for pupils. Regrettably, the inspection judged the Academy to be Inadequate and it
has been placed in a category of concern. Whilst the report is upsetting, its findings mirror the state
of affairs that were found by the Trust.
You may well be aware that many of these issues had been raised in the summer when the Academy
was criticised under its Section 8 Ofsted monitoring visit, and this resulted in an Academy Warning
Notice being issued by the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC). lt was against this backdrop that
the RSC invited the Empower Learning Academy Trust to sponsor Bower Park Academy in order to
add capacity to its leadership and governance and to accelerate improvements in teaching and
The report highlights the positive impact that the new governance is beginning to have and
recognises that the Trust has identified the right areas for improvement but, unsurprisingly, states it
is too early to see the impact of its actions on pupil outcomes.
Governors are very focussed on accelerating improvements so as to make rapid progress towards
becoming a Good school. You will of course appreciate that the Trust has engaged Mr McLaughlin as
Headteacher, a very experienced leader who has taken several previous schools out of lnadequate,
and we are confident that he, together with the senior Leadership Team and Governors, will drive
through the rapid improvements necessary to ensure pupils at Bower Park receive the education
they warrant. of course, a top priority at present remains the outcomes for the current pupils and
there is already a series of interventions and strategies underway with Year 11 and 10 in particular
so as support them to achieve their best in their GCSEs.
The Regional Schools Commissioner is aware of the outcome of the inspection and has reinforced
the need for the Trust to continue its work on improving the provision within the Academy. On a
visit following the inspection in December 2016, the office of the RSC commented positively on the
improvements that were evident since their previous visit in the summer term of 2o16.
Whilst positive shoots are appearing, we do not underestimate the challenge of taking the school
forward quickly and will be single minded in our desire to make that happen.
Mr McLaughlin will be arranging a number of meetings with parents and carers to discuss the
report’s findings and the actions that have already begun since the Trust assumed responsibility to
address the weaknesses outlined. The dates and times will be published shortly and I hope that you
will be able to join us at a meeting to hear our plans about taking the school forward.
The Ofsted report will be on the school’s website- www.bowerpark.co.uk for you to view. Should
you require a hard copy then please contact the school office.
Thank you for your continued support.
Chair of the Interim Transition Board
The full report can be read here.