School praised for its big ‘transformation’

Headteacher Tony Nicholson with pupils from left, Matthew Fielding, Alicia Platt, 15, Elena Froggett, 16, Maisey Froggett, 16, Tom Brownrigg, 16, Samuel Hill, 15, AJ Wood, 16 and Jade Williams, 16 at Montgomery High school in Blackpool
Headteacher Tony Nicholson with pupils from left, Matthew Fielding, Alicia Platt, 15, Elena Froggett, 16, Maisey Froggett, 16, Tom Brownrigg, 16, Samuel Hill, 15, AJ Wood, 16 and Jade Williams, 16 at Montgomery High school in Blackpool

Montgomery High School is out of special measures and heading in the right direction, education watchdog Ofsted said in a report out today.

Although it still needs to improve, the Bispham academy now has a ‘no excuses’ culture, with senior teachers providing a ‘strong, clear direction’.

Headteacher Tony Nicholson has welcomed Ofsted’s report, which revealed: “Leaders have transformed the school in the two years since it was placed into special measures.

“No longer inadequate, the school is on an upward trajectory of improvement.”

Mr Nicholson, who will step down as head at the end of this term, said: “This report recognises the hard work of all staff, students, and the wider school community.

“We are not complacent and recognise there is still much work to do in taking students to those higher levels of performance and progress throughout their five years with us.”

Education watchdog Ofsted, which visited the All Hallows Road school last month, looked at four key aspects before giving it an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’.

Lead inspector Mark Williams described the effectiveness of leadership and management as good, but said the quality of teaching, youngsters’ development, behaviour and welfare, and their outcomes, were in need of improvement.

His report said: “Leaders responsible for bringing about improvement have been relentless in their efforts.

“Variability still remains, in maths and science for example, but overall there is more that is good than in the past.”

The report also said bullying was an issue at the school in the past, and a particular concern for parents.

“Leaders, however, take seriously any incidents,” it added.

Mr Nicholson said: “To get out of special measures is extremely challenging. It’s a very significant stepping stone.

“We have managed to get out through immense and fantastic hard work.

“We want to get this school to outstanding and for it to be a beacon school.”

An Ofsted spokesman said 28 schools in the north west have gone from an inadequate rating, which saw them placed in special measures, to good.

None went to outstanding, while, similar to Montgomery, 32 went to requires improvement, Ofsted said.

Mr Nicholson said he has ‘absolute’ belief the school’s new principal, Stephen Careless, currently deputy head at Morecambe High School but set to take over from September, will take Montgomery to the next level.

He will work with executive principal Sean Bullen, who will divide his time between Millfield school, in Belvedere Road, Thornton, and Montgomery, which is run by the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT).

Mr Nicholson, FCAT’s deputy chief executive officer, added: “I’m really excited about it and very optimistic. These people have the skills to move the school forward.

“My job is almost complete and I can hand over to people highly equipped to take the school to the next level.”