Leaders are ‘transforming’ formerly ‘inadequate’ Blackpool secondary school Highfield Leadership Academy, says Ofsted

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A South Shore secondary school which was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted three years ago has been bumped up to ‘requires improvement’ following its most recent inspection.

 

Education watchdog Ofsted said leaders at Highfield Leadership Academy in Highfield Road were “transforming the school for pupils” when it was inspected in July.

A previous inspection carried out in 2018 saw the Academy receive the lowest possible Ofsted rating of “inadequate,” after inspectors raised concerns about pupils’ “inadequate progress in subjects,” the “commonplace” use of offensive language in corridors by pupils, and an “overgenerous” view of the school’s effectiveness by leaders.

However, although this year the overall rating for the school was graded as “requires improvement,” behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management were all rated “good.”

Education watchdog Ofsted said leaders at Highfield Leadership Academy in Highfield Road were "transforming the school for pupils" when it was inspected in July.

Education watchdog Ofsted said leaders at Highfield Leadership Academy in Highfield Road were “transforming the school for pupils” when it was inspected in July.

Inspectors ruled that safeguarding measures were effective, pupils felt safe and happy, leaders were aspirational for their pupils and provisions for pupils with special educational needs

and/or disabilities have been strengthened.

The latest report also said that while leaders had been “incredibly proactive in improving the quality of education for all pupils,” it was decided that this area would benefit from

further improvement – warranting a “requires improvement” rating.

Bullying was “rare,” inspectors said, and pupils were “confident that if bullying does occur, staff will deal with it quickly and effectively.”

Pupils treat each other well, and they were confident in teachers’ expertise to manage behaviour, the report said.

“This means that pupils can concentrate in their lessons without learning being disrupted.”

Improvements were needed for curriculum plans, which in many subjects were “incomplete,” and “in some subjects, teachers [did] not know the most effective way to deliver the key stage three curriculum.”

But it was acknowledged that “leaders have implemented successful strategies to support pupils in key stage three who are behind with their reading.”

Andrew Galbraith, principal at Highfield Leadership Academy, said: “I am very pleased that this latest Ofsted inspection recognises the many improvements that have taken place throughout the school and our pupils’ positive attitudes.

“These improvements would not have been possible without the support and commitment of our dedicated and professional members of staff, our parents and, of course, our incredible pupils.

“We are delighted that the caring and supportive community that has developed around Highfield Leadership Academy was highlighted as a particular strength.

“The wellbeing of our pupils is of the utmost importance to us as a school. The fact that our pupils are happy, safe and feel a sense of belonging and pride in their school is a real cause for celebration.

“We are continuing our work to ensure that our school becomes outstanding in all areas. We are committed to making further improvements as we continue our transformation journey to help our pupils achieve even more.”