A Wolverhampton school is taking "effective action" to move out of special measures, according to Ofsted.

Inspectors carried out a monitoring visit to Corpus Christi Catholic Primary Academy last term and noted a range of improvements which have taken place in recent months.

The Ashmore Park school became subject to special measures following an inspection in February 2018. Since then there have been a number of staffing changes at Corpus Christi which have helped to raise standards.

Julie Wardle, who became headteacher in September 2018, has "developed positive working relationships" with governors and staff, galvanising the school and making some "significant changes to begin to drive the necessary improvements across the school". This has led to some early improvements in some aspects of performance, including the quality of teaching and learning in Key Stage 1 and the teaching of phonics.

She and her deputy have a "very accurate understanding of the quality of teaching and learning" across the school and have developed a detailed monitoring programme to check on standards. The leadership team are "taking appropriate actions to address" weaknesses, with carefully targeted support programmes in place to help teachers improve their skills where necessary.

As a result, inspectors found "notable improvements" in the quality of teaching and learning in Key Stage 1, while the teaching of phonics "has developed rapidly". The leadership team have a "clear and realistic overview" of pupils' attainment and progress at Key Stage 2, and are using this information to target pupils who may have fallen behind in their learning to "ensure that they make accelerated progress to help them catch up".

Inspectors were full of praise for Corpus Christi's pupils, saying they demonstrate "very positive attitudes to learning" and are both eager to line and rise to the challenges presented to them. They are "well behaved" and show a "high level of respect to one another and all adults". Overall attendance has improved and is now in line with the national average.

Inspectors congratulated the school, part of the Pope John XXIII Catholic Multi Academy Company, for seeking support from a wide range of external advisers, saying they have "engaged particularly well" with the City of Wolverhampton Council "to utilise the expertise and support" of its staff to develop the quality of leadership, management and teaching. There has also been good support from the Multi Academy Company.

The inspectors found that the "comprehensive and cohesive support programmes that are in place are providing a strong platform for the school's leaders and governors to drive further improvements across the school to enable pupils' outcomes to improve".

They concluded that "leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the removal of special measures", and that both the school's improvement plan and the Trust's statement of action are fit for purpose.

Mrs Wardle said: "The positive feedback from the inspectors has been achieved as a result of all the hard work and commitment of the staff and the children at Corpus Christi, alongside the ongoing support of our parents.

"We are delighted with the result and extremely pleased that it has been recognised that the school is moving in the right direction."

Councillor Lynne Moran, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "I would like to thank Mrs Wardle and her team, the governors and the parents and pupils at Corpus Christi for their hard work which is bringing about real improvements at their school.

"I would also like to highlight the excellent support being given to the academy members of the council's School Improvement Team, both through membership of its School Improvement Board and direct support from advisors who are working closely with the school's leadership team."

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