Carlisle academy once dubbed Britain's worst school gets 'good' rating from Ofsted

Richard Rose Central Academy has received a good rating from Ofsted
Richard Rose Central Academy has received a good rating from Ofsted

There have been huge celebrations after a Carlisle academy has turned around its fortunes and been rated as ‘good’ for the first time.

Staff, pupils and parents at Richard Rose Central Academy – once labelled Britain’s worst school – finally have something to celebrate now that the school has turned itself around.

Reacting to the news, principal Stephen Gilby said: “I’m just overjoyed. It’s really, really positive.

“I’m really proud for the academy to get the recognition it deserves. And most importantly for the students – they are a super group of students and they deserve the very best, so it’s nice to get an official badge to recognise the good work that everybody does here.”

The academy has been in special measures twice, rated inadequate twice, requires improvement once and satisfactory once.

Persistent issues were inadequate leadership, low standards of teaching and pupils’ achievements and disruptive pupil behaviour.

But on their latest two-day visit in April, Ofsted inspectors found an academy on the up.

The inspectors praised the transformed culture of the academy on Victoria Place, and its dramatic improvements in teaching and learning which led to the school achieving its best ever exam results last year.

Mr Gilby, the Senior Leadership Team, governors and the academy’s sponsor, United Learning, were all credited for transforming the academy. The Governors were praised for playing an instrumental role in bringing about improvements in the school and Mr Gilby was said to be “determined and ambitious for all pupils”.

The inspection also found these key findings:

  • Leaders and governors have a very good understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Teaching is rapidly improving across subjects and year groups, particularly in maths and science
  • The curriculum supports pupil’s personal and academic development across a wide range of subjects
  • The sixth form is good – teaching and support enables students to achieve well and prepares them for the next stage of life
  • Pupils feel safe and are well cared for.

Mr Gilby, who joined Central Academy in July 2015, said there had been a big focus of behaviour of students and staff and lots of investment in teacher’s development.

 Stephen Gilby

Stephen Gilby

Last year the academy was the most improved in the county and the most improved school out of 60 in United Learning academy trust – which it achieved alongside a £5.6m refurbishment after the December 2015 floods when 5ft of water flooded the school.

The ‘good’ rating has been a huge boost for pupils too.

Year 11 pupil Sarah McPake, 16, credited the teachers with dramatic changes at the school.

She said: “The level of teaching has increased dramatically. The teachers in my opinion are excellent.

“They take into consideration everything that we would like and they have our best interests at heart.”

Adam Bulman, who is also 16 and a year 11 pupil doing his GCSEs, said the school had had such a bad reputation for so many years now, people looked down on you if you said you were a pupil.

The students hope the new good rating will start to change that reputation.

“I think it’s going to take a lot longer for the reputation to change because it was the same for so long.

“We had small improvements and now we’re at a stage of being a ‘good’ school, it will finally open people’s eyes,” he said.

Richard Rose Central Academy opened in September 2008 following the official closures of St Aidan’s School and North Cumbria Technology College.

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Freda   Bryson , Carlisle Friday, 09 June, 2017 at 4:52PM
Maybe ofsted could inspect their behaviour outside of school smoking and behaving like yobs.
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Dick   Carruthers , Annan Friday, 09 June, 2017 at 9:32AM
A real tribute to the teaching staff, well deserved considering the hours of hard work they put in.
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Sara   Kilgour , Carlisle Thursday, 08 June, 2017 at 4:18PM
Sorry guys but surely this a political stunt! My children have unfortunately attended this school and it is a disgrace! The attendance and behaviour is awful and the teaching is nowhere near good!
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