Lodestar Academy hailed by Ofsted for “nurturing environment” and “ambitious curriculum”

January 17, 2024 01:40pm

Staff and pupils at Lodestar Academy are celebrating a remarkable improvement in its Ofsted rating, progressing from ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2020 to ‘Good’ in all areas in 2024.

The Lodestar Academy, located in Torquay, is an alternative education provider for 11 to 16 year olds. It joined the high-performing Thinking Schools Academy Trust last year, which leads 26 successful primary and secondary schools in Medway, Kent, Plymouth, Torbay and Portsmouth.

Ofsted inspectors found Lodestar’s quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development of pupils and leadership and management to be ‘Good.’

Highlights from the report included praise for the academy’s warm and welcoming community atmosphere, stating: “The welfare of pupils and their families is at the heart of The Lodestar Academy … Pupils get the care and support they need to overcome challenges. They receive individual guidance to help them to learn.”

Impressively, the inspector said: “The school offers excellent pastoral support to pupils and their families” and stated that “there is a nurturing environment for pupils to learn.”

Ofsted also commended the “ambitious curriculum," stating: “School leaders ensure the environment is well resourced and looked after... This helps pupils to have the same learning experiences as those in mainstream schools.”

Lodestar Academy was also praised for the career guidance and support given to pupils to ensure they are well prepared for their next steps. The inspector commented: “They do not put a ceiling on pupils’ aspirations. Pupils successfully go on to college, university, or secure an apprenticeship.”

Steven Hulme, Headteacher at Lodestar Academy, said:

“We firmly believe in challenging the misconceptions that surround Alternative Provision. Lodestar Academy is not defined by limitations but rather by opportunities, innovation and success. We are so proud that we are defying Alternative Provision stereotypes and empowering our students for future success.

“We are fortunate to have the support and guidance of The Thinking Schools Academy Trust, which has brought a wealth of resources, expertise and opportunities to our school. Their commitment to excellence and focus on supporting our community have been instrumental in our progress so far. Their partnership is invaluable in our journey to defy stereotypes and create a brighter future for our students.”

Mandy Gage, Regional Director at the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, said:

“The Ofsted rating highlights the high-quality teaching and standards at Lodestar Academy as they continue to provide an excellent education to our future generation. It reflects the positive learning environment Steven and the team at Lodestar have created, ensuring students feel valued, supported and motivated to succeed.

“Education is not just about academic achievement but also supporting pupils to thrive in all aspects of life. This ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted validates Lodestar’s commitment to excellence; The name ‘Lodestar’ means a star that is used to guide a ship or a person that serves as an inspiration. This

reflects the Academy’s mission to guide, support and nurture its students to be their best selves through their education

“Lodestar Academy is passionate about improving life chances for young people and I am incredibly proud to watch the Academy go from strength to strength with their achievements and make a real impact on every pupil's learning experience.”