Reason to celebrate for staff and pupils at a Norfolk academy after outstanding Ofsted report three years after it was branded inadequate

Principal of Hethersett Academy, Gareth Stevens, celebrates with some of the students their outstand

Principal of Hethersett Academy, Gareth Stevens, celebrates with some of the students their outstanding Ofsted. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Staff and pupils at a Norfolk high school had cause to celebrate after receiving a glowing Ofsted report three years after being placed in special measures.

Hethersett Academy, near Norwich, has become the first high school in Norfolk since 2014 to be judged outstanding after it was given the highest possible rating across the board.

The school, previously known as Hethersett High School, was placed in special measures in March 2013 after Ofsted inspectors found it inadequate.

Just months later it became an academy as part of the Inspiration Trust, a flagship Norfolk academy chain often praised by ministers, and it is now the first school in the trust to gain Ofsted's top grade.

Inspectors praised the school for preparing students 'exceptionally well' for successful futures and were impressed by the 'overwhelming majority' of pupils securing academic and personal achievements.

Principal Gareth Stevens, who has led the school since the beginning of 2014, said: 'This is brilliant for the school and for the community as a whole. I think it can be summed up by one of the assemblies I have just had. One of the pupils was punching the air in delight as he was leaving.

'When we arrived it was clear morale was pretty low and there was a lack of leadership at the school. Since taking over we have worked very hard to make sure teaching is outstanding to get outstanding outcomes.'

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The resounding success has come little more than a year after a monitoring inspection concluded leaders had not taken effective action to improve behaviour and secure consistently positive attitudes to learning.

But now Mr Stevens said very high expectations meant poor behaviour would not be tolerated, adding 'every pupil knows that, and each one has high aspirations'.

The news came days after national performance tables confirmed the academy posted the best GCSE results in Norfolk for a non-boarding secondary school in 2015.

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