Ofsted has officially taken the academy out of the ‘special measures’ category that it was placed into following the previous inspection in 2018.
Although it was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating, the inspectors who assessed the school after a visit last month praised the progress made by the “improving school” – including the “ambitious” curriculum for all pupils – and found that “expectations of what pupils can achieve are high”, as well as characterising the school as a place where “pupils grow in confidence and achieve well”.
Berwick Academy’s trustees, acknowledged by inspectors for their “clear oversight” of the school’s strengths and weaknesses, were pleased to see the progress being recognised by the inspection team.
Donna Goddard, chair of trustees, said: “The overall judgement given was ‘requires improvement’, which is no surprise as making sustainable progress from our previous ‘inadequate’ position is a marathon, not a sprint, and so much of what inspectors saw takes us tantalisingly close to their ‘good’ criteria.
“The board of trustees is extremely grateful to headteacher Tracy Hush and her leadership team for their hard work and dedication in driving the school forward in such challenging times.
“I also want to pay tribute to all the staff associated with the school for their tenacity, support and loyalty to help the school improve.”
A number of areas that had previously been highlighted by the schools inspectorate as significant weaknesses have now been recognised as strengths, such as the “headteacher and senior team ensuring that the right action is taken in the right order to address key priorities”.
Inspectors saw evidence that “behaviour has improved” since the last inspection and that “bullying won’t be tolerated” within the school, which now has a “strong culture of safeguarding”.
The headteacher said: “Special thanks must go to all the students and parents of the school for the support that they have shown.
“Working together in the same spirit, we can now move the school forwards towards achieving ‘good’ at our next inspection and continue to improve opportunities for the children of Berwick and surrounding areas.
“This is an exciting time for education in Berwick, and the improvements seen at Berwick Academy can only be further supported by the promised new investment in education for the area.”
Local county councillors Georgina Hill and Catherine Seymour praised the school after hearing the news.
Coun Seymour said: “It is good news that Berwick Academy is an improving school from Ofsted's report and now thankfully out of special measures.
“Although at ‘requires improvement’, increased stability in senior leadership has helped these improvements and is on the right way.
“With support and funding allocated for a brand new school put in place by Northumberland County Council, the future is bright for our children attending Berwick Academy.”
Coun Hill said: “This is excellent news – congratulations to Tracy, her team and all the pupils.
“A very significant corner has been turned and Berwick Academy is now recognised as an improving school.
“There is, of course, much more still to do, but there is now every reason for optimism.”