Morale and confidence ‘rebuilt’ as school is taken out of special measures

St Mary's School and 6th Form College, Bexhill.''L-R Back: Interim Management Board - Ian Mason, Amanda Clugston and Paul Lennon. SUS-160402-101237001
St Mary's School and 6th Form College, Bexhill.''L-R Back: Interim Management Board - Ian Mason, Amanda Clugston and Paul Lennon. SUS-160402-101237001
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A principal said her school was ‘on a fast-track to excellence’ after it was taken out of special measures by Ofsted.

St Mary’s School and Sixth Form College, in Wrestwood Road, underwent a two-day inspection on January 20/21 and standards were found to be on the up.

Ofsted inspector Lesley Farmer rated St Mary’s as ‘requires improvement’ with some aspects of school life being judged ‘good’.

The rating was a vast improvement on the last full inspection in November, 2014, which saw the school rated ‘inadequate’ in all areas and then placed into special measures.

St Mary’s underwent monitoring inspections in March, June and November and its principal resigned in July, 2015, leaving Amanda Clugston to take up the reins in an interim capacity.

Ms Farmer said Ms Clugston and her team had made the leadership and future of the school ‘a personal matter’.

She added: “Drawing judiciously on their excellent leadership skills and experience, the interim principal and her team have taken hold of a troubled staff and parent body and rebuilt the community’s morale and confidence remarkably quickly.”

St Mary’s caters for pupils with speech, language and communication needs – and the improvements put in place by the leadership team had been recognised by concerned parents.

In her report, Ms Farmer said their confidence in St Mary’s was ‘gaining momentum rapidly’ while the pupils themselves took great pride in their school.

She described teaching as ‘improving securely’ and noted the previously high turnover of staff had stopped. This was also recognised by pupils, who in the past had voiced concerns about the frequent changes of teachers they had to endure.

While delighted to see St Mary’s taken out of special measures, Ms Clugston and her team recognised there was still more work to be done.

Among the areas highlighted for further work if a higher Ofsted rating was to be achieved, Ms Farmer said the school needed to build on improvements already made to teaching. In addition, leaders needed to strengthen the range of courses available to pupils in Key Stages 4 and 5, and improve assessments for pupils in Key Stages 2 and 3.

Ms Clugston said: “We are confident that St Mary’s is on a fast-track to excellence and will not let up until we reach that goal.

“Staff, parents, pupils, governors and our interim management board have all played a part in getting the school out of special measures. Whilst there is still room for improvement, the dedication and determination to continue along that path is without question.”

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