Bexhill Academy is celebrating after receiving its best Ofsted rating in 25 years.
For the past quarter of a century, Bexhill’s community school has never been judged better than ‘requires improvement’ by inspectors.
In 2013 the school fell into special measures, just five months after becoming an Academy. At that time, the confidence in the school’s leaders, its sponsor, and the ‘radical’ new build that saw students taught in groups of 90, had slipped to an all-time low. The future looked bleak.
The tide only began to turn when Heidi Brown, who had recently led Shoreham Academy on a challenging journey to ‘outstanding’, was appointed as the new principal. The prior sponsor went into receivership, and the Attwood Academies Trust was given the go ahead to take over in December 2014.
The new principal, along with her experienced senior team, set about the task of making the Academy ‘the school of first choice for the local community’. And the hard work has evidently paid off as the Academy received ‘good’ ratings across the board following a visit from inspectors on May 3 and 4.
The Ofsted report stated: “In the last three years the school has improved beyond all recognition. Major changes, particularly to the pods (classrooms) and the curriculum, have been skilfully directed by the dedicated trust governors and the principal.
“The principal has tackled the weaknesses in the past with determination and skill. She is extremely well supported by a hard-working and wise senior leadership team.”
It added: “The school’s mission statement: “To ‘be remarkable’ by working together as a community, within an ethos of care, respect and responsibility’ is reflected in all the governors’, leaders’ and staff’s work.”
Parents were equally complimentary when answering questions during the inspection. One parent said: “I recommend this school whenever the opportunity arises,” and another noted: “My child’s progress has rocketed since moving from primary school last year.”
The report said it was ‘not surprising’ first-choice applications for Year 7 have increased 50 per cent this year.
Students were observed in more than 50 lessons and Ofsted said: “The behaviour of pupils is good. In many lessons they concentrate hard, join in enthusiastically and work well together.”
Ofsted also noted: “Provision for vulnerable pupils and those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities is very successful. It is matched by the high quality of care for pupils’ safety and well-being.”
The Academy says it is grateful for the trust and support of the community during the past three years.
Heidi Brown said she is “delighted” by the report, but “will never stop striving for improvements” to see Bexhill Academy continue on its journey to outstanding.
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