The Forest Academy’s Outstanding Journey

A Barnsley primary is celebrating after receiving a coveted Outstanding rating from Ofsted.

In its latest Ofsted report, the school’s phenomenal success has been confirmed with inspectors praising staff for providing the very best education for its pupils, improving life chances, creating a caring, safe environment and delivering an ambitious curriculum.

Inspectors reported that: “The ‘Forest Promise’ of ‘Be the best that you can be,’ is lived and breathed by all in this community of excellence and achievement. An ethos of care and compassion runs through the school. Nobody is left behind. Staff share a relentless commitment to giving all pupils the very best education and improving their life chances.” 

They also praised the school’s approach to reading, stating: “Opportunities for reading are everywhere in this school… Pupils quickly become confident, fluent readers through the phonics curriculum that leaders have chosen… Pupils develop a love of reading and a love of being read to.”

The school’s leadership was also highlighted with inspectors reporting that: “Leaders are sharply focused on their commitment to giving pupils the best education possible. They share a common goal and mission to improve the life chances of pupils. They know that this also has a positive impact on the school community. Leaders ensure that staff are given very high quality training to ensure that they have the skills to deliver the ambitious curriculum that leaders have designed.”

Katie Pierce, Head of School at The Forest Academy, said: “This is tremendous news for the whole community and something we’re all incredibly proud of. We know we have a very special team here at Forest doing extraordinary things but to have that recognised externally by Ofsted is wonderful.

“Our school is living proof of what can be achieved with the right focus, energy and support. 10 years ago, things were very different for this school but the unwavering commitment and belief of school leaders and staff, combined with the support and expertise from our Trust, has created an environment where every child can thrive and meet their potential. All children deserve an outstanding education and parents and carers can be 100% confident that that’s what we offer here at Forest.”

The Forest Academy has been on a decade-long journey of improvement since joining Wellspring in 2013.  Back then, the school was labelled the 32nd Worst Performing School in England.  Now, it is among only 7% of schools countrywide that carry the Outstanding label.

Mark Wilson, CEO at Wellspring Academy Trust, added: “The Forest Academy is a wonderful school. It was the first school that joined the Trust and it epitomises everything we are about – joy, compassion, ambition, community-mindedness and the belief that every child should have access to an exceptional education. Katie and the team at Forest have created magic: an outstanding school that plays an outstanding role in serving the whole community. Everyone involved should feel very proud.”