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Ofsted report says Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate showing improvement

Education inspectors say one of Thanet's biggest secondary schools is starting to show improvement after major concerns were raised.

Ofsted revisited the Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate last month after the school was rated inadequate and found to be failing by inspectors during an inspection last year.

The follow-up inspection found significant changes were taking place to turn the school around with decisions from head teacher Simon Pullen steadying the school.

Royal Harbour Academy
Royal Harbour Academy

But inspectors warned more work is required to make sure pupils achieve well despite the improvements.

The school's leadership was heavily criticised during the inspection in June 2018 and teaching was described as "weak" contributing to poor exam results.

The education watchdog issued three conclusions including finding the school's leaders and managers are now "taking effective action towards the removal of the serious weakness designation".

Inspectors also believe the action plans put in place both by the school and Kent County Council - the school's Local Education Authority - are "fit for purpose".

In her report, lead inspector Theresa Phillips says: "Overall, leaders have enhanced the culture and introduced effective systems to deliver the necessary improvements at the school.
"Early signs are positive, but there is still much to do to enable pupils to achieve well.

"Since September, leaders have provided greater clarity than previously of expectations for pupils’ behaviour and how staff should structure lessons.

"The head teacher has led the change in culture to one of openness and trust among staff, who in turn support leaders' vision" - Ofsted

"These consistent messages have steadied the school, which has a purposeful atmosphere at both the lower- and upper-school sites.

"The head teacher has led the change in culture to one of openness and trust among staff, who in turn support leaders’ vision.

"Pupils report that the school feels calmer, with more focused learning during lessons and less low-level disruption than was the case previously."

Ms Phillips also notes staff are supported better with a "comprehensive programme of professional development" and although pupil attendance is improve it remains "below national average".

She adds the school needs to continue to address "a legacy of underachievement" for many pupils due to "previously weak teaching" but points out "there are positive signs of improvement" including helping disadvantaged pupils perform better.

Mr Pullen said: "The inspector saw that the school has a ‘purposeful atmosphere’ and that students are focused on their learning.

"The school has acted decisively to improve the quality of teaching and she pointed out from her own observations and following conversations with students, that lessons are now better structured and provide a more suitable level of challenge for everyone.

"The improvements in the school are due to the hard work of the students, the dedication of all our staff and your continued support as parents and carers for which I am ever grateful."

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