Sheffield secondary school continuing to make progress after being taken off failing list

Sheffield Springs Academy head Russell Heritage.
Sheffield Springs Academy head Russell Heritage.
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A once failing Sheffield secondary school is continuing to make progress after coming out of special measures.

Sheffield Springs Academy in Arbourthorne was put in special measures two years ago after being criticised for poor exam results and lack of progress by pupils.

Inspectors visited the school in October 2014 and found that improvements still needed to be made in all categories.

They visited the school again in January to check on progress and found that senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement.

But inspectors highlighted that more work still needs to be done.

Russell Heritage, executive principal of the academy, said: “We’re very encouraged by this latest feedback, the first since we improved our Ofsted rating last year.

“The benefits of a number of initiatives we have put in place are beginning to shine through and, as inspectors note, our priority now is to use the lessons from these to speed up improvement in teaching skills and subsequently student progress.”

Inspectors said the school is working well with its sponsor, United Learning, and other partners to deploy support and expertise which is well matched to the needs of the academy and ‘beginning to improve the quality of subject leadership and teaching’.

They also noted improvements in a number of subjects areas including England and science, but highlighted more work needs to be done in maths.

The report said the school was facing difficulties recruiting specialist maths teachers but weekly training sessions have started to extend the range of teaching strategies.

Inspectors found punctuality and attendance has risen and senior staff have continued to tighten behaviour management procedures to further improve it.

There has also been significant improvement in the number of students with the right equipment for learning in the classroom.

Alongside students’ commitment to making good progress, parental support for the academy was found to be increasingly strong. The report highlighted that more parents have taken up roles on the Governing Body.

Inspector Bernard Campbell said: “Senior leaders and governors and the sponsor are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement identified at the recent inspection.

“The school should take further action to ensure that the continuing development of teaching and of the leadership role of middle leaders results in tangible measures of improvement in student progress across all academic subjects.”