Published: 06:00, 29 April 2020
The Oasis Academy on the Isle of Sheppey has drafted in another executive head to help pull the school around.
Ian Simpson is joining the senior leadership team in September to work "in partnership" with principal Tina Lee.
The Rev Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis Community Learning, said: "We are fortunate that, as a family of 52 academies, we have some considerable expertise and experience to draw upon.
"We have therefore appointed Ian Simpson to take up the position of executive principal to work alongside Ms Lee from the beginning of the autumn term.
"He will provide additional strategic leadership as well as serving as specialist advisor for inclusion in our south east region."
Letters were sent to staff and parents on Tuesday announcing the appointment.
Mr Simpson will be moving from Bradford, West Yorkshire, where he has been executive principal of Oasis Academy Lister Park. He led that school to its first ever ‘good’ judgement from Ofsted.
Mr Chalke said: "He has also provided leadership support to a number of our other schools in that area and will now bring a wealth of knowledge and skill to this new role, offering guidance to our existing leadership team."
He added: "Since becoming principal of the academy in the summer of 2018, Ms Lee has been a source of strength for both our academy and our community.
"Her calm and clear leadership has delivered many positive changes, as recognised by Ofsted inspectors last summer who praised her and our senior leadership team for their hard work in delivering improvements in the quality of teaching, pupils’ outcomes, and behaviour.
"We are very grateful to Ms Lee for her steadfast commitment to the academy and for everything she continues to do for our young people."
He added: "The Oasis goal is always to provide the very best support for our pupils and staff and Ms Lee has now requested that we add to the leadership capacity of the academy to build on the improvements she and her team have made over the past two years.
"Working together, Mr Simpson and Ms Lee will focus on raising standards further."
In March last year Lister Park was awarded its first 'good' listing by Ofsted.
Three years previously it had been rated 'requires improvement' across all areas except for leadership and management, which were graded 'good'.
Inspectors said they were impressed by pupils' progress and the quality of teaching and said: "Under the strong leadership of the principal, Oasis Academy Lister Park has improved rapidly since the last inspection.
“Students’ personal development and welfare are of paramount importance. The atmosphere in the school is harmonious.”
Inspectors added: "Since his appointment in 2015, the principal has transformed the school. Leaders demonstrate the passion and dedication to improve standards rapidly.”
They said in two years, outcomes for students had "drastically improved" from below national average to being in line and added students who started off with low expectations now made "good progress" across a wide range of subjects including maths and English.
Mr Simpson said at the time: "I am exceptionally proud of this report and would like to thank the students, staff, parents and members of the community who over the years have supported us on our continued journey to provide amazing education to the young people in our care."
The last full Ofsted inspection of the Sheppey school in July last year rated it as 'requires improvement' and highlighted poor attendance. It found pupils' behaviour was "not good enough" and said many "lack enthusiasm" and "do not work hard enough."
Since then, Miss Lee has concentrated all learning on the Minster campus except for the sixth form and special needs students who are housed on the Sheerness site.
The school was opened in 2009 by Dulwich College. It's first inspection in 2012 was 'inadequate.'
Oasis took over in January 2014 but has struggled to get beyond 'requires improvement' despite a succession of head teachers.
It was designed to educate 2,450 Islanders over two sites. It now teaches 1,405 while many parents send their children to schools off the Island to Sittingbourne.
More by this authorJohn Nurden
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