SCHOOL leaders have won high praise from inspectors for rescuing a troubled school from the ‘quagmire of inadequacy’.
In just over a year their ‘uncompromising vision’ has lifted what is now called Hope Wood Academy out of its inadequate ranking with key elements now rated good.
Formerly Glendene Arts Academy, the Easington Colliery special school was languishing in special measures with staff morale described as ‘shattered’.
Last year it joined the highly renowned Ascent Academies Trust, in consultation with pupils changed its name to Hope Wood and began a fightback that has already seen inspectors judge effectiveness of leadership and management good.
All Year 11 leavers achieved qualifications in both English and maths and there were exceptional results in art.
The latest Ofsetd report, just published, also ranked personal development, behaviour and welfare as good.
Each of the other areas – quality of teaching, outcomes for pupils, early years provision and the 16-19 study programme – have moved up from inadequate.
Inspectors recognised that insufficient time had passed to implement the trust’s ambitious improvement plans.
But the lead inspector said: “Leaders’ uncompromising vision, that pupils will achieve their best, has been at the heart of the work. This vision is driving the rapid improvement seen across the gamut of the school’s work.
“Leaders have rescued the school from the quagmire of inadequacy and are moving it forward successfully.”
The report stated:
Current leaders have worked with relentless determination to eradicate the significant weakness evident at the last inspection. They are driving improvement rapidly.
Leaders are rebuilding the previously shattered morale of the school community. Older pupils report how much better the school is.
Support and challenge from the Ascent Academies Trust leaders and trustees are contributing to the continuing improvements.
Pupils are generally making good gains in English and maths. They achieve highly in their GCSE work.
Pupils say they behave well because rules are clear, fair and used consistently by staff.
Headteacher of the 181 pupil academy Rachel Ireland said: “We are thrilled that the inspectors recognised our vision and how far we had already come in a relatively short space of time.
“This is just the start of the journey but with the help of our hardworking staff, our visionary trust leaders, our wonderful students and their families, there is only one direction of travel and that is upwards.”
Chief executive of the Ascent Academies Trust Paul Makin added: “We will continue to build upon our strengths, working right across the trust to identify the very best practices which will be developed by our new academy improvement leads in order to improve outcomes for children with complex needs.”