St Albans academy celebrates four-year Ofsted turnaround

Headteacher Matt Gauthier with pupils from primary and secondary phases at the school

Headteacher Matt Gauthier with pupils from primary and secondary phases at the school - Credit: Archant

In the space of only four years, a St Albans academy has jumped two Ofsted grades to be marked as good with outstanding features.

Matt Gauthier with senior leadership team

Matt Gauthier with senior leadership team - Credit: Archant

The Samuel Ryder Academy (SRA) in Drakes Drive, St Albans, was judged inadequate and given notice to improve when it was Francis Bacon Secondary School.

But the school has been mentored by Sir John Lawes School in Harpenden since October 2011 and changed its name nearly a year later, making it part of the Sir John Lawes Academies Trust.

It is now ‘all-through’ school providing education for children between the ages of four and 19 on the same site.

Since then it has progressively improved, culminating in an Ofsted visit last month in which it was judged to be good in all categories and outstanding in terms of the effectiveness of leadership and management.


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The report is being published this week and praises the academy and its leadership team for driving improvements in all aspects of its work.

Headteacher Matt Gauthier, who has been at the helm since SRA was created, is aiming for outstanding in all areas when it has its next inspection.

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He said: “I am delighted that Ofsted has recognised the huge improvements that have taken place over the last four years and I am particularly pleased that they acknowledged the outstanding leaders, at all levels, we have in the school.

“The education that the students receive at the Samuel Ryder Academy is excellent. The Ofsted outcome is an important milestone in our story of success but we will continue to focus relentlessly on raising standards even further.”

Ofsted judged many areas of SRA to be well above the national average and singled out for praise the achievements of pupils as a result of effective teaching, the sense of community in the school and the good behaviour of pupils around school and in lessons.

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