'Listening trust' ODST praised by Ofsted inspectors
Inspectors visited ODST between 8-11 January 2019 to conduct Ofsted's first ever MAT Summary Evaluation, a whole-trust review which included meeting with central staff and trustees, visiting schools and speaking to many headteachers and governors. Five trust schools were also inspected by Ofsted in the six months prior to the review, with positive reports.
A letter to ODST, published by Ofsted on 6 March, says ‘The trust’s ‘common vision for the common good’ permeates all aspects of its work’, and recognises its ‘commitment to preserving schools’ individual characters’. It highlights the ‘empowerment’ felt by headteachers and governors, who describe ODST as ‘a listening trust’ and value the level of responsibility and freedom they have, for example to ‘design a curriculum suited to the needs of their pupils.’
The report notes that ‘leadership and teaching are effective’ and strengths in early years, phonics and key stage 1 were identified in school inspections. Inspectors also highlighted the steady increase in pupil attainment at key stage 2.
Ofsted also found that:
• Children in ODST schools are kept safe through a ‘strong culture of safeguarding’.
• Trustees have ‘effective oversight of finance, steering the trust skilfully through a challenging economic climate’.
• ‘Communication at all levels is a strength of the Trust’, and collaboration between schools, particularly within the five local hubs, is growing.
ODST Chief Executive Anne Davey and her team were praised for displaying ‘high levels of professionalism balanced with warmth, care and respect’. She said:
‘I am delighted Ofsted has recognised the impact that our focus on people has had on outcomes for the children in our care. This letter illustrates how our approach is highly valued by schools and communities.
We’ve welcomed this chance to showcase our Trust, having already dedicated 2018-19 to consolidating the way we work before taking on any more schools. We are already developing our practice to ensure all children make the best possible progress from their starting points, along the lines that Ofsted recommends.
Anne Davey, CEO, ODST, March 2019