Flagship Preston school taken out of special measures

Photo Ian Robinson'Fulwood Academy principal Stephen Henry
Photo Ian Robinson'Fulwood Academy principal Stephen Henry
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Preston’s flagship Fulwood Academy is celebrating after being lifted out of special measures by education watchdogs Ofsted.

Inspectors have issued a glowing report after a two-day visit, saying they were particularly impressed with the way principal Stephen Henry has transformed the school in just over 12 months with his “tenacious and imaginative leadership.”

The £23m academy was given a caning in 2013 after being assessed as inadequate in almost every aspect of teaching, learning and management.

But, since the arrival of Mr Henry, coupled with a host of other staff changes, the school in Black Bull Lane has undergone a spectacular turnaround, with the inspection team rating both the quality of leadership and management and the behaviour and safety of students as “good.”

The Ofsted report, published today, says: “Tenacious and imaginative leadership from the principal has resulted in what several staff described as the transformation of the academy.

“He has driven change at rapid pace, but in a reflective manner that has harnessed the commitment of the academy’s community and led to a marked improvement in the academy’s overall effectiveness.”

Mr Henry, in his first headship, paid tribute to staff and governors for the way the school had turned things round so quickly.

“This transformation has taken a lot of hard work by a lot of people and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way everyone has pulled together to achieve this.”

The Ofsted inspectors said in their report that there had been a marked improvement in all aspects of the school, including the quality of teaching and learning and the outcomes for students.

In particular they praised a strong senior team for being “relentless” in its work to improve the academy and middle leaders for being increasingly skilled in improving teaching.

Achievement, they said, was rising strongly across subjects, with students feeling safe, behaving well and having a positive attitude to learning. And the mantra of “aim high, work hard, be nice, no excuses” was now the backbone of the academy.

Mr Henry said that the last 12 months “represented the first phase in our drive to provide excellent education for our children.”

The academy’s aim, he added, was to become “a beacon centre for excellence in teaching and learning in the region.”