OFSTED inspectors who placed St Aldhelm’s Academy in special measures last October, have praised its rapid transformation under the Ambitions Academies Trust (AAT).
AAT, which has a reputation for turning around failing schools, took over St Aldhelm’s in June 2015 and installed a new leadership team led by Principal Sian Thomas.
School inspectors visited the academy in Herbert Avenue Poole in November and spent two days observing 27 lessons and interviewing staff and pupils.
In a letter to Ms Thomas, inspectors said: “You and your senior leaders have transformed the quality of education provided at St Aldhelm’s Academy.
“An academy that was described as ‘dysfunctional and unsafe’ is now an environment where students love to attend, enjoy school and have exceptionally positive attitudes to learning.”
Ms Thomas said: “We are extremely pleased with the inspectors’ findings and their conclusion that we are taking effective action towards the removal of special measures.
“They were very impressed by the improved standards in teaching and the transformation in students’ behaviour.
“We have recruited 13 new teachers as well as a new subject leader for English, a special educational needs coordinator and a learning and teaching coordinator, and as the
inspectors pointed out, students’ outcomes are already improving.
“They also found that students respect their teachers, respond well to being challenged and that there is a real buzz of learning in our classrooms.”
Brian Hooper is CEO of Ambitions Academies Trust, which also encompasses six other secondary, junior and special schools across Bournemouth and Poole.
He said: “The inspectors’ findings are great recognition for St Aldhelm’s, its pupils and staff and also the parents, without whose support this progress would not have been possible.
“As well as praising the improvements we have already put in place to raise teaching standards and improve behaviour, Oftsed has recognised we are paving the way for rapid improvements in our students’ achievements.
“There is still much to do, but St Aldhelm’s is now firmly on the right path.”
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