William Morris Academy is 'outstanding'

And students make 'exceptional progress' says Ofsted

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The William Morris Academy in Hammersmith, which became England's first 16-19 school in 2002, has been given Ofsted's top rating of 'outstanding' in its latest inspection report.

The report comes as H & F Council is planning to expand sixth form education in the borough and to make William Morris central to that process.

Ofsted says, "The William Morris Academy provides its students with an education that is outstanding in quality and is totally inclusive. Almost all aspects of the provision have outstanding features, resulting in students making exceptional progress in their studies."

The academy, which will be renamed William Morris Sixth Form in September to avoid being confused with city academies, stretches the brightest students and gives outstanding support to all students - with more than 75 per cent going on to university.

Ofsted says, "Students join the academy from a wide range of backgrounds, many with attainment levels that are lower than average. A strong focus on student support ensures that the personal development, academic progress and the care and welfare of students are outstanding."

Although WMA attracts "some students who might otherwise shun further education" and enables many of them to progress to university, high achieving students are also able to gain top grades and places at some of the country's best universities. The report says the most able students "achieve the high levels expected of them". Last summer, the overall A-level pass rate at WMA was 95.5% - with nearly 40%
of passes at grades A and B.

Principal Liz Walton is praised by Ofsted for her "inspirational leadership", and the report says, "All students speak with affection and gratitude about the unstinting support and guidance provided by staff." Relationships between staff and students "are reminiscent of those found in higher education establishments" which creates "an ethos of warmth and respect in which scholarship prospers."

Senior staff are described as "outstanding leaders and managers" and governors as "effective" in helping to shape the overall direction of the academy.

Liz Walton, WMA principal, said, "I am thrilled that this Ofsted report is such a glowing endorsement of our success and that it recognises our key strengths - namely, that students of all abilities make exceptional progress and achieve at a high level and that students show respect for each other, the staff and their environment.
I am also delighted that the inspectors recognised the rapid improvement here since our last inspection and that they were so struck by the harmonious relationships between students of so many different cultures, as well as the care and support that our staff are able to give students experiencing difficulties or hardship.
Finally, I am incredibly proud of the staff and students of the academy."

Cllr Antony Lillis, cabinet member for children's services, said, "Congratulations to all the students and staff who have helped to make William Morris Academy such a unique and successful place to learn. We want to expand sixth form education in the borough and William Morris will be central to that process. By attracting and nurturing both high flyers and students who may not otherwise have considered further education, William Morris has set a fantastic example for others to follow."

David Williams, WMA chair of governors, said, "This is a tremendous endorsement of the hard work of staff, students and governors in making the William Morris Academy a place of excellence. I am pleased that the governing body's increasingly important role in shaping the direction of the academy is praised in the report and I would also like to thank parents for their support. We will all be working hard to bring about further improvements for the benefit of future students."


January 15, 2007