THE headteacher of a Basingstoke secondary school which was graded as ‘inadequate’ said he is proud of the progress it has made since.

Andrew Hatherley, who was appointed as headteacher of Coppice Spring Academy in November 2022, said it is well on its journey to becoming a ‘good’ school.

As previously reported, the school for pupils with social, emotional, and mental health difficulties, was put into special measures and graded as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted following an inspection in March 2022.

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At the time, inspectors found pupils at the school in Pack Lane, Kempshott, had an “unacceptably poor” education and that the school was in a “state of serious decline”.

A third monitoring visit was carried out by Ofsted in July and a report published on Friday, September 22 said it “remains inadequate and requires special measures”.

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

Mr Hatherley said that since joining Coppice Spring he has redesigned the school curriculum adding more vocational subjects and opportunities for pupils, which has “motivated and engaged” pupils.

The school saw its highest level of qualifications, with 66.7 per cent of students leaving last year with seven or more qualifications resulting in 100 per cent of the 2023 Year 11s going on to secure college placements.

The school has implemented a new reading and literacy strategy to target students who have struggled with reading and have below-average reading ages.

Mr Hatherley said: “We have had real success with engaging the pupils in this; this has included revisiting phonics, new whole school literacy plan, World Book Day activities and we now have a brand-new library and literacy hub within the school.

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“We have planned time into the curriculum to give pupils opportunity to read and develop their love for the written word.”

Alongside the curriculum improvements, staff at Coppice Spring have worked on improving pupils’ personal, social and health education.

“This has made a big impact with our pupils and has been identified as a real strength,” said the headteacher, adding: “Pupils are learning effective life skills and building them into their daily routines and habits.

“Several of our students participate in weekly work experience, which has led to one of our local employers implementing this across their garages in Hampshire. “The skills they are learning support them and are preparing them to become valuable members of the community.”

Coppice Spring now has a new gym which is giving pupils the opportunity to develop their understanding of leading a healthy, active lifestyle. Mr Hatherley said: “Some of the pupils are taking GYM instructor qualifications so they can support other pupils and become student leaders. The gym has been a great addition to our facilities and is being used in lesson and for extracurricular."

Attendance remains a strong focus for the school, as it works closely with colleagues in Hampshire to ensure students are supported to attend school.

“This has led to an ongoing improvement in students’ attendance. Pupils are now attending school regularly and look very smart in their school uniform. Pupils now display a strong pride in their appearance and are proud to be members of their school community. This has been a real shift in school culture,” said Mr Hatherley.

Mr Hatherley said he is proud that Hampshire County Council has directed other heads from across the county to visit Coppice Spring and see the rapid improvements in progress, which he said is “a great opportunity to show our journey to becoming a good school and to help other headteachers on their journey of school improvement".

He added: “As the headteacher, 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.”