THE newly appointed principal of West Craven High School, Barnoldswick,  has vowed to drive up standards after the academy was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.

The academy, which has around 600 pupils, and was rated ‘good’ just less than two years ago, was judged to be ‘inadequate’ in areas of education, of pupils’ behaviour and in leadership and management, and ‘requiring improvement’ in the personal development of pupils.

Mrs Foy, who took up the leadership role this month, said her first priority would be to drive up standards and see the academy reclaim its ‘good’ status.

She comes to the school from the White Rose Academies Trust in Leeds, where last year she saw Leeds City Academy secure its best ever GCSE examination results.

Steps for improvement were already being put in place following an internal assessment, and under Mrs Foy’s leadership are being acted upon promptly, to ensure a rapid turnaround for the Kelbrook Road school.

Over the past few weeks, the senior leadership team has also been further strengthened with the appointment of two new deputy principals with vast experience in improving the quality of teaching, learning, behaviour, student outcomes and attendance.

Following its inadequate rating, the academy will be visited by Ofsted inspectors five times over the next two years to carry out monitoring inspections.

Inspectors spent two days at the academy in November, last year, and found that pupils had been ‘badly affected by the high number of staffing changes’.

Leaders did not have high enough expectations of pupils, some pupils did not behave well, which led to learning being disrupted, and leaders failed to make sure pupils knew what was acceptable, and what was not. Inspectors found that all leaders, including trustees and governors, had failed to ensure pupils experienced an ‘acceptable quality of education’.

The academy’s work on personal development, including the careers curriculum were highlighted as positives by the inspectors with them praising students’ involvement in a range of activities to support their development including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Prince’s Trust schemes and their contribution to local charity events.

The inspectors confirmed that students receive effective careers information, advice and guidance and that students with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well looked after, and that ‘children feel safe’.

Mrs Foy said: “We are incredibly disappointed with the Grade 4 given by Ofsted but it matched our assessment prior to the visit. We do not intend to make excuses for the school being in this position and have invited any of our parents and carers who have questions about the judgement to meet with our senior leadership team where we can share in more detail with them our plans for rapid improvement.

“We have worked with our student council to produce a clear vision for the academy: to be an exceptional school providing the highest quality education and preparation for the rest of students’ lives. This vision will underpin the improvements we make to the academy in the coming months.”

Anita Ghidotti, chief executive of Pendle Education Trust, added: “We are obviously taking this Oftsed judgement extremely seriously and are working with Tracy and the new team at West Craven to change things around at pace. The trust’s Executive Principal for secondary education has a successful track record of school improvement and this experience, along with the support of the Trust’s leadership team and our sponsors, Nelson and Colne College, will ensure we make the improvements needed. This is what our students and families deserve.”

Principal and CEO of Nelson and Colne College Group, Amanda Melton, said: “We are very confident that the new Senior Leadership Team structure at West Craven High School, led by new Principal Tracy Foy, will turn around the disappointment of seeing an academy within Pendle Education Trust being rated as inadequate by Ofsted.

“We fully support the work that is already going on at West Craven High School to address the issues identified by Ofsted. We firmly believe these changes will ensure the academy becomes the secondary education provider that students and parents in Barnoldswick, Earby and surrounding villages deserve.”