Published: 11:46, 03 May 2021
| Updated: 11:48, 03 May 2021
Sheppey’s Oasis Academy is expecting a record 369 pupils to join it in September.
Principal Tina Lee said: “This is really good news. The school continues to improve. More parents are picking us as their first choice than ever before.”
She said just over half of the academy’s Year 13 students had chosen and been offered university places and 120 pupils had enrolled in the sixth form making it the “largest in years.”
Academy founder Steve Chalke told a virtual meeting of the Sheppey Community Development Forum last Tuesday : “This is brilliant news.”
Oasis Community Learning, part of the Oasis Charitable Trust, took over the secondary school in January 2014 and has been working to improve it ever since.
It was originally designed to cater for 2,450 pupils over two sites in Sheerness and Minster but numbers had fallen as many Sheppey parents prefer to send their children to schools in Sittingbourne.
More than 1,000 pupils are bussed off the Island every day. The academy now has close to 1,500 students.
Miss Lee has been fighting to turn the tide since taking over the helm in 2018. In a surprise move last year she moved all pupils and staff to the Minster campus except for the sixth form and pupils with special additional needs. Sheerness also houses a reading recovery scheme.
During the Easter break the whole of the inside of the Minster building in Minster Road was redecorated. She said: “The walls and corridors have fresh paint. It is looking like a new school. It is more calm and settled.” Basketball courts and table tennis tables have been set up outside.
Ofsted inspectors also paid the school a visit just before the holiday. Bosses are now awaiting their findings. It is currently rated as “needs improvement.”
The upsurge comes after Sittingbourne’s non-selective schools, Fulston Manor and Westlands, were named as two of the most oversubscribed in Kent.