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Ofsted 'Good' for Five Islands Academy

“a powerful sense of community”


Five Islands Academy Ofsted Report 
Good with Outstanding for Personal Development

The top performing school across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly according to DfE Progress measures has been warmly recognised by Ofsted following its first full inspection since it became an academy in 2019.

Children, staff, leaders and the wider community of the Five Islands Academy in the Isles of Scilly are celebrating the outcome of their recent Ofsted inspection which took place in October 2023. This was a rigorous and thorough three day inspection of each school base and Mundesley boarding house. The academy was judged to be Good in every area of provision: Quality of Education, Behaviour and Attitudes, Early Years, Leadership and Management, and Boarding Provision.


Inspectors were highly impressed with the Personal Development of our pupils: the FIA journey that helps them become ‘mature, well-prepared young people’ who ‘are accepting of others and those from different backgrounds’ within a culture where ‘everyone works together to find solutions and resolve issues’.


The report praises opportunities created by our creative, hard-working staff team, through our curriculum, Project Weeks, clubs and trips, of ‘a remarkable range of cultural experiences for pupils, especially within the arts.’ Inspectors were fascinated to see the preparations for our whole school promenade performance of ‘The Tempest’, with the Hall for Cornwall, Royal Shakespeare Company, Linden Dance, the Miracle Theatre and Falmouth University among the ‘impressive range of expert practitioners’ they commented on.


During their visit, the inspection team spent a great deal of time in classrooms talking to our pupils and staff. They also met with leaders at all levels, teachers, teaching assistants and support staff. We were very well supported by Leading Edge CEO Kelley Butcher, Jackie Eason, Chair of Trustees and our school governors, Jeremy Brown, Paula Conlin and Elizabeth Burke.


As a small school on a unique group of islands, we aim to provide our pupils with as broad, balanced, aspirational and inspiring a curriculum as any provider across the country. We therefore strongly value the inspectors’ positive feedback that, ‘The curriculum expands their horizons and helps them to keep their options open,’ and that ‘Year on year, the curriculum helps pupils to gain the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.’ This success is demonstrated in GCSE progress that is significantly above the national average and highest of all schools in Cornwall, and in the ‘ambitious career pathways’ followed by Five Islands alumni.


We would also like to celebrate the work of our ‘creative and dynamic’ Mundesley boarding houseparents, who create a ‘warm and welcoming’ environment in which our boarders thrive.


Headteacher, Mrs Rachel Gibb, has written to parents to say, ‘I think you will agree that our school has had ringing endorsements across the board. The areas for improvement were no surprise and already included in our academy improvement plan, but for now we want to share and celebrate the very good news which is the culmination of a long journey of school improvement which many of you have witnessed. You’ve been alongside us all the way, and we’re grateful for your ongoing support and challenge which has helped to shape our school to be an organisation that we’re proud and privileged to be part of.’


Read the Academy and Boarding Provision Reports here.