Ryecroft Academy, (formerly Ryecroft Primary School) was a smaller than average school when it joined The GORSE Academies Trust in May 2014. Numbers had dwindled to just 113 on role, due to Inadequate inspection reports and a poor reputation in the local community. Since joining the Trust numbers have risen to 296 at present, with a thriving nursery and a journey towards becoming a full two form entry school. The Ofsted report of January 2013 cited poor teaching and leadership as being the cause for an Inadequate judgement. Despite a monitoring report of March 2014 stating that the school had made “reasonable progress” there was still a great deal of work to be done.
Ryecroft is situated in south west Leeds in an area of high deprivation, surrounded on three sides by local authority housing. The local area is within the lowest 10% of deprived areas in the country and the school currently has a very high proportion (64%) of pupils who receive the pupil premium funding. The area also has a high crime rate. Most children are from a white, British background but the local area and the school is becoming increasingly ethnically diverse.
Ryecroft Academy is now a thriving, dynamic and inspiring schoolRyecroft Academy works closely with the other primary and secondary schools within The GORSE Academies Trust and benefits a great deal from the collaborative working of the staff and the tapping into expertise of other colleagues. It has a particularly close relationship with the Outstanding Farnley Academy and guarantees automatic entry of its Year 6 pupils into Year 7 there.
The site of the school dates back to 1966 when it was built as a small infant school. Further building work in 1973 ensured that Ryecroft became a popular middle school. In 1992 it became a primary school, using the buildings from the original infant school and middle school. Ryecroft is also blessed with a great deal of outdoor space and recent months have seen the development of a forest trail, a wildlife garden and a nature club. All of this is greatly needed and appreciated by our children in such a built up and disadvantaged area.
Children are proud to be pupils at Ryecroft and staff are proud to work thereRyecroft Academy is now a thriving, dynamic and inspiring school. It has wonderful children and a team of dedicated staff who strive relentlessly for the very best for its pupils. It provides a safe, calm and secure environment, where pupils feel safe, valued and cared for. There have been enormous improvements in the behaviour of pupils since the introduction of the Primary Positive Discipline system in September 2015. Children are proud to be pupils at Ryecroft and staff are proud to work there. Achievements are celebrated both within the school and with families. The school gives many opportunities for pupils outside the classroom and particularly excels in sport. Together, we follow the school motto of “Grow, Develop, Branch Out.”
In March 2017, Helen Townsley became the Principal of Ryecroft Academy, steering the school successfully through its inspection in May 2017. The judgement of Requires Improvement reflected accurately that improvements have been made at the school. We are, however, disappointed with our early work at Ryecroft Academy but equally excited about the excellence that Helen and her colleagues are bringing to their work on school improvement now.