The Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) has been rated good by schools watchdog Ofsted in an official inspection report.
Staff and students were celebrating the news today (Monday 5 December) – just weeks after inspectors visited the secondary school in Chalky Road, in Mile Oak.
They said that the school was good in every respect in a report published two years to the day after it was rated as requiring improvement.
Ofsted said: “Pupils are well motivated to learn and achieve … They work hard in lessons and collaborate well … They feel safe, happy and make good progress.
“The quality of teaching, learning and assessment has moved into a higher gear this year. All pupils are making at least good progress and those who need to catch up are supported to do so.”
“The behaviour of pupils is good. Inspectors saw nothing but sensible behaviour around the school’s buildings and grounds, with no litter or graffiti at all.
“Pupils are welcoming and polite to visitors and very proud to attend the school.”
Parents described the support that their children receive as “absolutely fantastic”.
The principal Katie Scott said: “We are incredibly proud of our students. We know how good they are but it is great that others can now recognise their academic achievements and the exemplary way in which our students conduct themselves.”
She emphasised that PACA is a community and that it has been team work that has enabled such rapid progress to be made.
She said: “Relationships between staff, student and families at PACA are incredibly supportive. And our governors provide real support and challenge for our team.
“The importance of pupils having high aspirations and the confidence to achieve now permeates the academy’s culture, from the leaders to our youngest students.”
The school’s chair of governors Rosalind Turner said: “I am delighted that the ambition everyone involved with the academy shares for every student was something that the Ofsted inspectors commented on.
“I would like to congratulate Katie Scott, all of our staff and, of course, our wonderful students. And to recognise that this could not have been achieved without the support of parents, the community, our sponsor Aldridge Education and co-sponsor, the local authority (Brighton and Hove City Council). We look forward to building on this success.”
Aldridge Education chief executive Chris Tweedale said: “This is a really well-deserved acknowledgement of the high standards the academy is setting itself.
“With PACA joining our multi-academy trust in February, it is in a great position to be recognised as outstanding in future.”
As well as better exam performance, PACA had the most improved attendance in Brighton and Hove last year.
The good verdict – the second highest of Ofsted’s four gradings – follows a rating of “requires improvement” after inspections in November 2014 and December 2012.
In a previous incarnation – as Portslade Community College (PC) – it was twice rated inadequate, in 2009 and 2010. On the second occasion the school was placed in special measures.
PACA pointed to a picture of improvement in local schools, with four nearby primaries all rated good in the past couple of years. The four are St Peter’s Community Primary School, St Nicholas Primary School, Benfield Primary School and Mile Oak Primary School.