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We are now able to inform you that OFSTED inspectors, led by Neil Mackenzie HMI, visited Darwen Aldridge Community Academy in May 2017 and have judged that ‘the school continues to be a good school.’ 

We are pleased with the outcome and there are many comments within the letter that staff, students and parents can be justifiably proud of. We have always seen ourselves as a school which is completely committed to the community which we serve and therefore are delighted with the observation in the letter that ‘The school stands like a beacon in the heart of Darwen’.

In their letter, OFSTED speak extremely positively about how the Academy has made further improvements since the last inspection, noting that we have;  ‘Created a highly positive and industrious culture….’ and that students;  ‘….clearly enjoy and very importantly value their education’.

OFSTED spoke highly of all leaders in the Academy, stating that;  ‘The school is good and improving because leadership, at all levels, is strong.’  The inspection team also praised our approach to learning and student welfare in the Academy by adding that;  ‘Although it is a larger than average school, pupils feel that they receive highly personalised academic and pastoral guidance.’

At a time when across Blackburn with Darwen, Further Education provision has drawn some criticism, the excellent outcomes for DACA’s students in the Academy’s Sixth Form were singled out by Mr Mackenzie in his letter. He writes that;  ‘The sixth form goes from strength to strength,’ and that;  ‘An increasing number are progressing onto what are considered to be Britain’s best universities.’ It is particularly pleasing that this is recognised and that the successes of students have led to us having a record number of applications for places on post 16 courses at the Academy from September 2017.

This inspection was conducted more than four years after the Academy’s last inspection in January 2013 and was part of a new pilot scheme for short inspections of good schools. 

The students at DACA are a pleasure to teach and to work with, and they deserve great credit for ensuring that this inspection was such a success. Our students work very hard and their results are evidence of that. The support which you give, to them and to us, is also invaluable, so we offer our sincere thanks for working in partnership with us in ensuring that your children continue to receive first-class education. Can we particularly thanks the parents who were able to respond to the Ofsted on-line questionnaire for parents. 

There are of course, areas where we need to improve, to get to our next objective of being named as an outstanding school.  The Inspectors noted that “teaching of mathematics has improved considerably” and that “pupils are now performing well in all aspects of science”, but that it was too early for them to assess the similar improvements we are making in some of our other faculty areas.  We can assure you that the process for these improvements is already underway, and with your continued support, we are confident that we can achieve this goal. 

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