A BASINGSTOKE secondary school has been told it remains ‘inadequate’ following a monitoring visit by Ofsted.

An inspector from the education watchdog visited Coppice Spring Academy, in Pack Lane, Kempshott on Tuesday, July 4 and in a report published on Friday, September 22 said it “remains inadequate and requires special measures”.

The inspector added: “Leaders have made progress to improve the school, but more work is necessary for the category of concern to be removed.”

The school was initially graded as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted following an inspection in March 2022, during which inspectors found pupils were “beyond control” and staff feared being hurt.

READ MORE: Coppice Spring Academy headteacher 'proud' of improvements

Ofsted said the school was providing pupils with an “unacceptably poor” education and had been in a “state of serious decline over time”.

A new headteacher, Andrew Hatherley, was appointed in November 2022 with hopes to transform the school.

The school, for pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties, is part of the Catch 22 Multi Academies Trust Limited, which is in the process of handing over all seven of its academy schools, three of which are in Basingstoke, to another provider following a string of poor Ofsted reports.

Ofsted has recommended that Coppice Spring does not appoint ‘early career teachers’.

In a letter to Mr Hatherley following the monitoring visit, the Ofsted inspector said: “You and your staff have continued to focus on the much-needed improvements across the school. The leadership team and much of the staff body has remained stable.

“During this monitoring inspection, you outlined your pride in the work of your staff in focusing on the two planned developments. However, there is an appreciation that there is still much to do to ensure pupils get the quality of education you aspire for them to have.”

The inspector found improvements had been made to the curriculum at Coppice Spring.

She also said developments are continuing to support pupils’ personal, social and health education.

SEE ALSO: Failing academy trust provider handing over three Basingstoke schools 

“There is now a thoughtfully planned curriculum delivered by a specialist teacher. This curriculum includes a comprehensive coverage of relationships and sex education as well as exploring what actions pupils should take to stay safe. Lessons also reflect the specific needs of the pupils attending the school,” the report said.

High levels of absence for some pupils were said to “remain an ongoing concern”.

However, since the last inspection, a new strategy has been implemented which includes a member of staff working closely with families and pupils who do not attend regularly.

Ofsted said suspensions issued were “high”, adding: “You and your team recognise this. You have continued to implement much higher expectations of the conduct of pupils.”

The inspector said: “Staff also have higher expectations of how pupils should behave in lessons and again this was evident in the lesson visits I conducted. You and your team have been rigorous in making improvements to safeguarding systems and processes. As a result, safeguarding is effective.”

She added: "Your safeguarding team can highlight case studies that illustrate the actions they have taken in response to serious concerns about the safety of pupils. Staff are determined and tenacious in working with external agencies to ensure pupils and their families get the help they need.”

During the visit, Mr Hatherley outlined the progress being made to move to a new multi-academy trust.

The report said: “This work is ongoing, but you are positive about the progress."

The visit was the third monitoring visit since the school was graded as 'inadequate'. Schools can only change gradings following a full inspection. 

Mr Hatherley said Coppice Spring is now "well on our journey to becoming a good school" after making "significant progress". 

He said: "Hampshire Local Authority have directed other headteachers from across the county to visit our school to see rapid school improvement in progress. This has been a great opportunity to show our journey to becoming a good school and to help other headteachers on their journey of school improvement."

The headteacher continued: "I am very proud and excited about the progress and developments of the school. I am very lucky to have a great body of staff that go over and beyond each day for the pupils of the Coppice Spring Academy.

"We will be converting to our new trust in January (The Chiltern Way Trust). This is an exciting development for us as they are an ‘outstanding’ trust with lots of expertise in SEMH provision. This will help support our drive of school improvement."