EDUCATION in Gosport has struggled for years but now young people can celebrate as a school and college have made huge improvements.
Both Bridgemary School and St Vincent College were awarded the rating of good in their latest Ofsted inspections.
It comes less than two years after Bridgemary was rated as inadequate and put in special measures while St Vincent College was rated as ‘requires improvement’ at about the same time.
The change in fortunes has been praised by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage and town councillors. And the education establishments say the results are fantastic news.
Vicki White, headteacher at Bridgemary, off Wych Lane, said: ‘We have never been rated as good or better so we are delighted about it. Often, schools do not get a rating of good straight after being in special measures.
‘The staff deserve this and it is a pivotal moment in the school’s history.
This is fantastic news for the young people of GosportCllr Peter Edgar
‘It puts Bridgemary up there with the best in Fareham and Gosport and that’s where it belongs.’
The principal at St Vincent College was just as happy. Matt Atkinson said: ‘We got the impression that we were well into the good category and some areas of the college were listed as outstanding.
‘The report recognises the hard work and commitment from staff and students. We are extremely proud that the sport and public services departments were seen as outstanding.’
The two reports were published just weeks after education in Gosport was criticised after GCSE results in the town fell below the government’s minimum benchmark.
Gosport councillor Cllr Peter Edgar, who is in charge of education on Hampshire County Council, said it was encouraging.
‘This is fantastic news for the young people of Gosport,’ he said.
‘It’s a good encouragement for everyone in the education community.’
He added future results should reflect the improvements made.
And for Ms White, the next step is to improve results.
She said: ‘We have been raising the expectations of our students.
‘When young people came here there was a self-fulfilling prophecy about Bridgemary and people didn’t have high expectations.
‘But we have been working hard to change that.’
Ms White said she was proud of the students and how they were reflected in the report.
She said: ‘The report is littered with references to how polite and respectful the pupils are and how they value their learning.’
She added the school had had a bad name for its pupils’ behaviour but the report states ‘behaviour has significantly improved since the last inspection’.
The progression and success of students at St Vincent College, off Mill Lane, was something highlighted in the report by the inspector.
Mr Atkinson said: ‘We have to ensure that every single one of our students achieves the best results that they can.
‘In the report, it highlighted the fact that a good proportion of our students go to university or higher-level study.’
Another key finding in the report was that ‘the culture of the college is strongly focused on successfully developing students to achieve their best’.
Ms Dinenage said the reports were brilliant. ‘This is great news for Gosport and shows the enormous hard work and effort of staff, headteachers and students,’ she said.
‘Both Bridgemary and St Vincent had really good aspects and I am really happy their Ofsted rating now reflects that.’
Bridgemary ward councillor Jill Wright added: ‘It is excellent news and hopefully the first step to improving the GCSE results.
‘It shows people working at the school are doing their best for the children.’