Felpham Community College underwent a two-day inspection in January, three years after being told it needed to improve.
In his report, published on Monday (February 8), lead inspector Matthew Newberry said: “The headteacher has shown strong and determined leadership and has brought about significant improvements in all areas of the school’s work since the previous inspection.
“There is a shared culture of continual improvement from the top down and teachers and other staff are proud to be part of the school’s success.
“As a result, the quality of teaching and the progress that pupils make, although not yet outstanding, have improved significantly since the previous inspection.”
That progress was reflected in the school’s improved GCSE and A-Level results for 2015.
Headteacher Mark Anstiss said of the ‘good’ rating: “It means an awful lot to all of the staff and governors and the students at Felpham because it’s recognition of the journey that we’ve been on and where we are now.
“People in the local community have recognised the school has improved significantly in many different ways over the past few years but clearly we needed that ratified by Ofsted.”
Teaching in English was described as “highly effective” and in maths as “very strong” and Mr Newberry said the best teaching was “lively and challenges all pupils to achieve high standards”.
The judgement was no more than Mr Anstiss expected – he said his team had worked “really hard” and had “bought into what we are trying to do here”.
He added: “When we got the ‘requires improvement’ rating, we accepted that and we knew we needed to double our efforts and make improvements.
“It’s just nice now to get that out of the way.”
Explaining more about Felpham’s journey up the Ofsted ladder, Mrs Anstiss, who took over as headteacher in April 2010, said: “The school opened in 1974 and it’s always been ‘satisfactory’ or ‘requires improvement’ so some of the low expectations and aspirations were a historic thing within the school. That’s part of the thing that has made it a challenge over the years.”
With Ofsted demands and the pressure to do well in exams becoming tougher and tougher, Mr Anstiss said he felt some schools had become too focussed on results.
He said of the report: “What I am pleased with is it has managed to capture some of the heart of the school and the essence of what we are about because we are children-centred.
“I wanted to create a place where children generally wanted to come to school and staff to work.
“Academic results are important but not at the expense of a good working relationship and team work and students being happy and content.”
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