A BASINGSTOKE secondary school has been told it needs to improve following a visit from Ofsted though its headteacher was praised for her vision to improve the school.

Cranbourne School was visited by a team of four inspectors from the education watchdog over two days in November, and a report published on January 6 found the quality of education and overall effectiveness at previous inspection both “require improvement”.

Behaviour, personal development and leadership were all graded as “good”.

The school, in Wessex Close, is less than half full, with 605 pupils on roll but space for 1,287, despite amalgamating with Fort Hill School in Winklebury in 2017 when it was closed down by Hampshire County Council.

Ofsted said: “The past two years were difficult for Cranbourne as it amalgamated with another local school. It is now a settled and harmonious community where pupils enjoy being part of a more diverse group.

“Positive relationships between staff and pupils are a strong feature of this school. Pupils feel that teachers expect them to do their best. Pupils told us that teachers work hard to ‘connect’ with them.”

Inspectors found that pupils are “happy and feel safe in school”, adding: “The school is calm and well-ordered so that teachers can teach and pupils can learn. Pupils behave well around the school. Pupils rarely worry about bullying because they know that if it should occur, staff will deal with it quickly and effectively.”

The report said that most pupils are “enthusiastic about their learning” however found “pupils become less focused in lessons when they are taught by teachers who are not experienced in the subjects they teach”.

Ofsted found the quality of education to be “variable”, with some teachers not building on what pupils have learned before, resulting in gaps in their knowledge.

The report said: “Pupils become restless because they find the work too easy and are frustrated when they do not understand how to complete the work they are set.”

It said that headteacher Jane Aplin has a “clear vision for an inclusive school”, adding: “Leaders have improved pupils’ behaviour dramatically and reduced exclusions since the last inspection. Pupils who are vulnerable to exclusions learn in an environment that is welcoming and has a supportive atmosphere.Where necessary, leaders identify suitable alternative options to ensure that pupils stay in education and avoid becoming involved in any risky behaviour.”

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities were found to be “supported well by experts in the specialist centre”.

The attendance of a small group of pupils was found to be too low.

A varied programme of extra-curricular activities is planned by leaders, including visits abroad, activity weeks and theatre trips.

Inspectors said pupils do not know or understand as well as they should the meaning of the term ‘British values’.

Cranbourne was given various areas to improve, including ensuring that training and supporting non-specialist teachers; ensure all teachers have the highest expectations of all pupils; raise attendance which is currently slightly below the national average; and teach British values explicitly.

A spokesman for the school said they were celebrating the report. Inspectors, who visited the school in November for the first time in two years, have praised the “inclusive” Leadership of the school for creating a “harmonious and diverse community of pupils, who are enthusiastic about their learning.”

The spokesman said: "This was an important inspection for the school, the first one since Cranbourne rebranded, changing its uniform and ethos in September 2017. Inspectors recognised this and, most importantly, praised the well planned subjects, the expert teachers and the wide extra - curricular opportunities, including Duke of Edinburgh and strong student leadership."

The school was judged to be ‘Good’ for Behaviour and Attitudes. This is because the pupils are confident, mature young people who are proud of their school and willing to give their all” in lessons and wider school life.

Personal development is also “Good”, as is Leadership and Management, for the second time in a row. The inspection team noted that Governors, Senior and Middle Leaders and staff are leading a school with a well-planned curriculum and exciting opportunities.

Headteacher Jane Aplin said: “I must thank our parents, students and most of all our staff for everything we have achieved, also our strong and committed Board of Governors. This is a great school with an amazing team and I feel that we have given one hundred percent in everything we have done. We have transformed the school over the past two years and can only get stronger now.'