Ofsted notes academy’s “reasonable progress”

Bexhill High students at the academy's well-attended Christmas Fair
Bexhill High students at the academy's well-attended Christmas Fair

Bexhill High Academy is making “reasonable progress” towards coming out of special measures.

That’s the view of Ofsted inspectors on their third visit to the school since last February.

Interim Principal Andy Mortimer said, This is excellent news for Bexhill High and we are all over the moon about it. The news is such a positive reflection on the dedication, commitment and sheer hard work by so many people.”

The three main focus areas have been to improve teaching, enhance the curriculum, and aim for better leadership, management and governance.

The inspectors found that progress of students is getting better and quicker. Targets are more challenging, young people are enjoying lessons more and learning more as a result. Better teaching has led to the pupils having a better grasp of key ideas.

The inspectors said teaching is improving with more good and outstanding practice. However staff turnover in some subjects and the continued challenge of teaching in the pods means too much teaching is still not good enough. Too many teachers struggle to communicate ideas, engage students or check their progress, notably when teaching the large groups, but also in smaller classes.

More staff are providing work to match pupils’ varied abilities but this needs to be more consistent.

Students’ progress is more closely checked and better additional support in place for those who need to catch up.

Year 11 students welcome more detailed teaching they get in extra support sessions. They are clearer about target grades, and appreciate feedback about their progress.

Additionally the inspectors looked at the behaviour and safety of pupils and felt the academy retains its pleasant atmosphere in social spaces and between lessons, with good relationships between staff and students.

The great majority of students feel well cared for by staff. Most are keen to learn and remain focused.

The academy now has better systems to deal with students who do not behave well and this has led to a reduction in poor behaviour.

Also addressed to was quality of leadership in and management of the school.

Working together, the interim principal and the head of school have provided clear direction for improvement and are supported by other senior colleagues, many taking on extra work.

Senior leaders have improved the school development plan by adding measurable targets for students’ achievement, clearer actions to bring change in key areas such as teaching, and by involving staff more in drafting it.

It still has too few measurable targets for different groups of students, and too little evaluative reflection to identify the next steps.

Crucially, the plan now needs to show how a transition will be effected to the leadership of the new principal so as to build on what the academy is achieving.