Ofsted impressed with Portsmouth’s first academy

ALL SMILES From left, Hussain al-Bannai, Henry Eley, Coralie Camp, with maths teacher Catherine Raynor, Holly Sayer, Hayden Chan and Kyle Wesley.     Picture: Allan Hutchings (110948-163)
ALL SMILES From left, Hussain al-Bannai, Henry Eley, Coralie Camp, with maths teacher Catherine Raynor, Holly Sayer, Hayden Chan and Kyle Wesley. Picture: Allan Hutchings (110948-163)
The Highfield Campus at the University of Southampton, which is home to the George Thomas Building. Picture: Geograph

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PORTSMOUTH’S only academy is celebrating a first Ofsted inspection which praised improving standards and pupil enjoyment.

Charter Academy, which replaced the failing St Luke’s in September 2009, is already making the right impression with government inspectors, who visited the school.

Despite acknowledging exam results were still significantly below national averages, general trends including behaviour, attainment, teaching and care were said to be on the rise.

The monitoring report, which concluded the Somers Town school was making ‘good progress’, read: ‘The number of students had been falling prior to St Luke’s closing – the number of students is now rising.

‘Students’ progress is improving well and they are starting to enjoy their learning and to raise their aspirations.

‘Results achieved by year 11 students last summer (24 per cent gold standard pass rate) were better than those in St Luke’s, although remaining well below national averages.

‘Behaviour has improved significantly with the majority of students more positive about learning. Improvements in teaching are gathering pace with a fall in inadequate teaching, more good quality lessons and higher expectations of students.’

Charter’s principal Dame Sharon Hollows, who was singled out in the report for her ‘clear vision for the future’, has overseen a significant turnover in staffing, lengthening the school day by an hour and opening an off-site centre for students with behavioural problems.

She said: ‘This report is fantastic for our students, and our hard-working and loyal staff.

‘However, we cannot become complacent. We want this to be the best school in the city. We will be outstanding. We want every single child regardless of background to succeed and we know we can provide the right environment for them to do this.

‘Charter is a small school and we want it to stay small. We know all of our students and families well and know what every child needs to help them improve.

‘Most students will meet our high targets and all will make progress beyond expected levels and we will be able to support our students in finding the right pathway for them.

‘I now hope that people realise how amazing this academy is and what it has to offer.’

Dame Sharon anticipates a 50 per cent GCSE pass rate including English and maths this year.