A GIRLS’ school that hopes to admit boys soon has been told to improve by Ofsted.
Inspectors said that the Portsmouth Academy for Girls in Fratton ‘requires improvement’.
In that first year of turning things around here there was a lot to do with getting the pupils in the right place and improving attendance and attitudes to learning. Ofsted said the achievement of current pupils is good.Principal Natalie Sheppard
But principal Natalie Sheppard said it is only a below-average set of exam results that prevented an overall ‘good’ grading.
Inspectors who visited in April said the school needs to improve its teaching and achievement of pupils, but did praise the leadership, and the pupils’ behaviour.
The report said achievement in maths lags behind English and that the number of students achieving five or more good GCSEs including English and maths was below average.
But Ms Sheppard said she was pleased with the report.
‘I was delighted that the ethos of aspire and achieve had made such a difference here,’ she said.
‘What the report showed is that in a short period of time we have turned things around with behaviour.
‘The leadership of teaching and learning has been good. There was so much in there that staff and students and parents can feel proud about.’
Ms Sheppard said the below-average GCSE results from last summer contributed to the grading.
‘We know that with the 2014 results being as low as they were, which was a lot to do with the national changes, it would be a tough stretch to achieve a ‘good’,’ she added.
‘But Ofsted was very positive with us. They will be very interested in 2015’s results. We are expecting a good set of results.
‘For us it was always about taking the school from a low starting point and getting the students back up quickly because the children deserve the very best.
‘In that first year of turning things around here there was a lot to do with getting the pupils in the right place and improving attendance and attitudes to learning. Ofsted said the achievement of current pupils is good.’
The academy has applied to become a co-educational school and accept boys. It is the last single-sex school in the city as The City of Portsmouth Boys School will start accepting female pupils from September.
Parents have raised their concerns. Simon McNab has a daughter who is due to join the school in September.
He said: ‘It really took me by surprise. It was a real blow.
‘It was enough for us to step back and say we don’t want our daughter to go there.
‘The school has got too much on its plate. But she still wants to go there.’
Monowara Khanow, who has a daughter in Year 7, said: ‘The school should wait a couple of years and see how it goes. If it goes co-ed they can’t then bring it back to a single sex school.
‘It is a concern. We want our children to get the best possible education.’
The academy is waiting to hear from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) about whether or not the application has been successful.