However, inspectors conceded the school had made significant steps forward in the years following its academisation in 2017, summarising that Southlands was going through a "period of change" with teachers, pupils and parents agreeing it was "getting better".
In their report, released on January 22, inspectors found:
* Pupil achievement varies across different subjects as curriculum clarity varies
* Despite improvements, not all teachers are able to deal with disruptive pupils
* Whilst effective for lower years, the life skills curriculum for Year 11 does not prepare them enough for their future
Overall Southlands was classed as 'requires improvement' in all four categories - the quality of education; behaviour and attitudes; personal development; leadership and management - although inspectors say the school is progressing.
The report stated: “Pupils told inspectors that, in recent years, the school has not been a happy place that allowed them to achieve well. They are, however, noticing the improvements that leaders are bringing about to help them benefit from a better quality of Education.”
In particular, Ofsted noted that whilst learning was often disrupted by pupils’ poor behaviour in the past, most teachers now deal with misbehaviour effectively, and improved pupil behaviour is evidenced by the reduced numbers of temporary exclusions.
However, the inspectors added that not all teachers are as well equipped to deal with disruptive behaviour, stopping some lessons from being productive, and thus more training is needed.
Similarly, whilst "the curriculum that many pupils experienced in the past did not allow them to achieve well", most subject leaders have revised curriculum plans to ensure pupils are aware of the most important knowledge, but this needs to be extended across the board.
The report also found that most pupils enjoy school, feel safe, and are friendly to others, with leaders ensuring that there is much less bullying than in previous years.
Southlands was also commended for how it dealt with safeguarding, and for its effective trust board, which provides "the right balance of challenge and support" for school leaders.
The inspection took place on December 1 and 2 2021, and is the school's first one since becoming an academy in December 2017.
Southlands' last two inspections before joining the Mosaic Multi-Academy Trust classed the school as "good", in 2013 and 2010 respectively.
The school's senior team are meeting with parents and carers this evening to discuss their recent Ofsted report and plans going forward.