A school has been taken out of special measures two years after been rated inadequate by Ofsted.
Bexill High Academy, in Gunter’s Lane, underwent five monitoring inspections after the quality of teaching and students’ achievement levels came under fire in February, 2013.
Inspectors visited the academy again on April 29 and 30 and a report into their findings was published last week.
While acknowledging the work carried out by principal Heidi Brown and her team to bring Bexhill High out of special measures, the report stated the academy still ‘requires improvement’.
Among the issues highlighted was the need to raise the quality of teaching to ensure students made rapid progress in all subjects – especially science and design and technology.
The behaviour of some students and their attitude to learning was also raised and the academy was told it was not working effectively with parents to support their children’s learning.
The final point was highlighted even more when Ofsted received only eight responses to its Parent View questionnaire and had to rely on information provided by the academy to analyse parents’ opinions of Bexhill High.
When it came to leadership, Ofsted inspector Alan Taylor-Bennett said in his report: “The principal has an excellent understanding of the academy’s emerging strengths and what still needs to improve.”
Ms Brown took up her post in September, 2014, – one of several major staff changes made since the 2013 report. In December, the former Bexhill High School became Bexhill High Academy after being taken under the wing of the Attwood Academies Trust.
The report added: “The principal is driving improvements with confidence and determination. She is supported by a strong senior team.
“As a result, the effectiveness of all aspects of the academy’s work has improved this year and there is considerable momentum building to sustain future developments.”
The report noted senior staff were ‘having to shoulder much of the burden’ of improving the academy while some more junior staff were still at an early stage when it came to raising the quality of their teaching.
Despite this, the achievements of children in Key Stage 3 were reported to be improving quickly.
The report added: “Many students in Key Stage 4 show maturity and are determined to do well, despite having been affected by the academy’s troubled past.”
Among the areas in which the older children had been ‘ill-served’ was the curriculum, which had been found to have ‘serious weaknesses’.
The report praised the new curriculum as having ‘breadth and balance in the range of subjects on offer’ for Key Stage 3.
Regarding the Key Stage 4 curriculum, the report said: “The academy’s current leadership has done as much as possible to improve provision for them while maintaining stability.”
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