Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate is no longer graded as inadequate with serious weaknesses following a fresh inspection by Ofsted.
The academy, based on two sites at Newlands Lane and Stirling Way since the merger of the Marlowe and Ellington & Hereson schools in 2015, was visited by a team of four inspectors on January 8-9 who concluded: “the school no longer requires significant improvement.”
The inadequate grading was given in September 2018. A follow up inspection in February last year noted effective action had been taken by the school to make improvements but said more work was needed.
The latest report, due to be published on the Ofsted website next week, has highlighted “a real sense of purpose and ambition embedding at the school,” with inspectors now grading the academy as requires improvement. The serious weakness designation has been removed.
In the report inspectors said: “Pupils are happy at The Royal Harbour Academy (RHA). They recognise the improvements that have been made and appreciate the care and concern that staff demonstrate for them day in, day out. Pupils speak extremely positively about the way there is always someone looking out for them. This helps them to feel safe.
“Sixth-form students are impressive role models for the whole community.”
Inspectors noted that leaders have improved the quality of education overall but added: “However, these improvements are not yet secure in all subjects and for all pupils. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) do not receive the support leaders intend they should in all lessons.”
Inspectors said GCSE results remain too low – with a provisional 2019 figure of 11.9% gaining grade 5 or above in English and Maths – but sixth-form students do well and are “impressive role models for the whole community.’
The report also notes “an innovative approach” to teaching year 7 and 8 students where they have one teacher and several support teachers in a model based on primary school structures.
Inspectors said consistency is needed to make sure pupils achievements are improved and training at all levels of staffing would result in “further changes to the curriculum and teaching.”
They said: “Leaders have a clear and ambitious vision for the quality of education for pupils at RHA,” but reiterated the need for more support for SEND pupils.
Expertise provided by the Coastal Academies Trust, which covers schools including Hartsdown, King Ethelbert, Dane Court Grammar and Cliftonville Primary, was recognised. RHA is an associate member of CAT.
Academy head teacher Simon Pullen said: “I am absolutely delighted that Ofsted has recognised the school’s qualities, as well as the hard work and dedication of the staff and the conclusion that RHA has made significant progress.”
CAT executive head Paul Luxmoore added: “This Ofsted report finally puts to rest the debate about whether the project to bring together Ellington Hereson School with the former Marlowe Academy would work. We are enormously proud of Royal Harbour Academy.
“The progress made by Mr Pullen and his talented staff, together with his students, is of huge importance to the whole of Thanet. There has often been some scepticism, particularly in the press, about this school, but I urge parents to read the Ofsted report: it is very impressive.”
Gradings by area
Overall effectiveness Requires improvement
The quality of education Requires improvement
Behaviour and attitudes Good
Personal development Good
Leadership and management Requires improvement
Sixth form provision Good