INSPECTORS say a new Gloucester school has serious weaknesses and is inadequate.
An Ofsted inspection report on Gloucester Academy, published yesterday, identified serious weaknesses and said attainment has actually declined in its second year. The achievements of pupils was graded "inadequate" and English and Maths attainment was "well below average".
The school is an amalgam of two failing schools, and a new £15million build on the former Central Technology College site, off Cotteswold Road, is due next year.
The Ofsted report makes it clear there is still much to do – teaching, pupil behviour, leadership and management are ranked as "requiring improvement".
But inspectors found last month that major changes are being made, and some are starting to make a difference.
Headteacher John Reilly, governors and senior leaders are, inspectors said, "sharply focused" on improvement and teaching is improving more quickly compared to last year.
They found a "positive climate" for learning thanks to significant improvements in students' behaviour and attitudes.
Mr Reilly told The Citizen changes have been made at the top of the English, maths and special educational needs departments but the effect won't be felt yet. And it is understood key staff in areas where attainment has declined have been replaced.
"Some staff chose to leave last year and the report mentions this, and that we are getting a better overall team in place," he said. "Notwithstanding that, attainment was below the national average and we are striving to improve. There is more rigorous target setting, and we are working with a number of partners to make improvements."
A joint inset day with Balcarras School in Cheltenham is coming up, and the school is working with Small Heath School in Birmingham, which serves a similar community and is graded as "outstanding".
In a prepared statement he said: "We recognise that there is still much to do. We intend to build on this report and the progress it identified to deliver a significant improvement in next year's exam results."
* Ofsted says the school has “serious weaknesses”
* Achievement is inadequate - the number of students attaining five or more GCSEs at grade C or higher, including in English and mathematics, is well below average
* In the academy’s second year, attainment declined in a range of subjects.
* The proportion of students making the expected progress in English and maths is below average.
* Progress varies too much between students of different levels of ability and is particularly slow for those of middle ability.
* The achievement of students who are disabled or have special educational needs, is improving but too low.
* Teaching is improving but is not yet consistently strong enough to secure good achievement for all.
* Strengths are: Significant improvements in students’ behaviour and attitudes, leaders are “sharply focused” on improvement; teaching is improving quickly