'Improving' Northampton academy bounces back from inadequate rating in latest inspection...but still needs to get better

The school says it owes its turnaround to new principal Lorna Leventhal.
The school says it owes its turnaround to new principal Lorna Leventhal.

Inspectors say one of Northampton's largest school has climbed out of special measures and is "ambitious" to improve - but still has a long way to goes.

After a devastating "inadequate" Ofsted rating in 2016, Weston Favell Academy has been graded as "requires improvement" in its latest inspection.

The school, which looks after more than 1,300 pupils, say they owe the turnaround to new Principal Lorna Leventhal and an "ambitious programme of improvements".

But inspectors say the academy still must make improvements in all areas.

The report, published on June 11, reads: "The principal and senior leaders have a precise understanding of the quality of the school’s provision. They are ambitious to secure further improvement.

"[But] while the quality of teaching is improving, it is not consistently good across the whole school.

"The most able pupils do not make consistently good progress across a range of subjects, particularly in Years 10 and 11. They receive work that lacks sufficient challenge."

However, the report praised the schools "robust" method of dealing with bullying and commented that behaviour had improved since the last inspection.

Now, five terms after it was handed its "inadequate" rating, the academy has been removed from special measures imposed on failing schools.

Principal Ms Leventhal said: “We are delighted that the hard work that has gone on across the academy has been recognised. Our students, the senior leadership team, our brilliant staff and the wider school community, including our supportive parents, have all contributed so much to achieve this outcome.

"School improvement does not happen overnight but today’s report confirms that we are moving in such a positive direction.”

In 2016, the academy was graded "inadequate" in all areas - the worst possible result - and was scolded for its "weak" governance and low standards, citing: "Those responsible for governance have badly let down this school."

Ms Leventhal was appointed in September 2017.