Resort school goes from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’ in four years

Staff and pupils at St Cuthbert's Primary Academy are celebrating after being given a 'good' rating from Ofsted.  L-R are Jack Hughes, Rhianna Lee, Anis Ben-Slama, Alicia Holden and Philippe Rozik.
Staff and pupils at St Cuthbert's Primary Academy are celebrating after being given a 'good' rating from Ofsted. L-R are Jack Hughes, Rhianna Lee, Anis Ben-Slama, Alicia Holden and Philippe Rozik.
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A Blackpool primary school ordered to become an academy after being branded ‘inadequate’ is now doing a ‘good’ job, Ofsted found.

St. Cuthbert’s was criticised by inspectors from the education watchdog after ‘serious weaknesses’ were found in 2013.

But now acting headteacher Sarah Smith, who took over in November, and other senior teachers have been praised for their work in turning the school’s fortunes around.

In a letter sent following a recent inspection, Ofsted said: “You have high aspirations for your pupils and work rigorously and relentlessly to make sure you achieve the high standards you set for yourself and others.”

It added: “At the heart of all your work is your drive and determination to ensure that pupils have better life choices.”

The school, in Lightwood Avenue, South Shore, was found to be improving less than 12 months after its damning report, but the government still ordered it to become an academy, which it did in September 2014.

Two years later, then-headteacher Des Kennedy, left suddenly during the summer break after 12 years in charge.

Stephen Tierney, former head at St. Mary’s and chief executive at the academy trust that runs both schools, said: “With the hard work and dedication of the staff team and the support of parents, the education the children now receive is of the highest quality and improving further.

“To move from an inadequate to good grading in four years is a great achievement.”

Mrs Smith said she was proud of the ‘massive team effort in a short space of time’.

She added: “It just goes to show when you put your mind to something what you can achieve.”