Published: 06:00, 21 January 2020
A secondary school given the lowest possible grading by Ofsted two years ago has been praised by the education watchdog and is no longer deemed 'inadequate'.
Inspectors visited the Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate on January 8 and 9 and say they found head teacher Simon Pullen and his team had put in place a “clear and ambitious vision” for the school.
The secondary, one of the biggest in Thanet and of which around 60% of pupils are disadvantaged, has come in for criticism in recent years, with some of the worst exam results in Kent.
It was rated inadequate in 2018 by Ofsted and criticised for its weak teaching which had led to the poor results.
But in the latest report, inspectors say the school is improving and now rated ‘requires improvement’ overall - with ‘good’ in three of five categories for behaviour, personal development and sixth form.
In the document, the inspection team say leaders have improved the quality of education overall.
“They have continued to improve Royal Harbour Academy,” the inspectors said.
'A very positive and respectful culture runs through the school' - Ofsted
“They have created a positive environment where pupils are confident and proud of their learning. There is an exciting focus on pupils’ futures.
“Staff work hard to provide a wide range of meaningful opportunities, for example, ethics and philosophy lessons challenge pupils to explore moral and ethical issues and offer reasoned views about them.”
The pupils “sense of purpose” was also praised.
“They display positive attitudes to their studies,” the inspectors said.
“They recognise the dedication of staff and feel valued.
“Those pupils who have struggled to manage their own behaviour in the past have been supported very effectively.
“They are proud of the improvements they have achieved and are adamant that their success is due to the relentless care and concern of the whole staff.
“Overall, a very positive and respectful culture runs through the school.”
Sixth form students were described as “ambitious and determined”.
Inspectors pointed out a number of areas that still need improvement, including support for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities.
They also say GCSE results remain too low.
Head teacher Mr Pullen says the report accurately reflects the significant progress the school has made over the past few years.
“I would like to thank the students and staff for all their hard work during the inspection process,” he wrote to parents.
“The inspectors were very clear that children feel happy and safe in school.
“They were also full of praise for what is happening in the classroom and they recognised that the school has high ambitions for your sons and daughters.”
More by this authorMarijke Hall