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How Lowestoft schools are fighting back

Denes High School new head teacher,Peter Marshall.  Picture: Nick Butcher

Denes High School new head teacher,Peter Marshall. Picture: Nick Butcher

© Archant 2012

Community leaders have said they believe Lowestoft schools have "gone through the the worst of the spiral downwards" after one the town's three high schools to be marked as 'inadequate' was brought out of special measures.

Concerns were raised over a “really serious problem of low educational standards in Lowestoft” after the third out of four high schools in the town went into special measures in November.

Ofsted inspectors now say Ormiston Denes Academy - which was put into special measures when it was still known as the Denes High School - is “improving in all areas of its work” and said: “Better teaching is having a positive impact on students’ learning and achievement.”

Although the regulator has agreed to move it out of special measures, it still graded the Yarmouth Road school as ‘requires improvement’ and particularly criticised marking, attendance and consistency in the quality of teaching.

But Phil Aves, change partnership manager at Lowestoft Rising - an organisation which is working to improve a number of areas across the town, including education - said it was “really good news for Ormiston and the town” and added: “I am confident the other schools will turn things round like Ormiston Denes are starting to.

“We shouldn’t be sending children to schools out of town - we should be confident the schools here are good enough. I hope we have gone through the worst spiral downwards. I’m confident they’ll do it, and I’m confident we’ll help wherever we can.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous also welcomed the report, saying: “It is encouraging to read about improvements in all areas of the academy’s work.”

He added that there was “still work to be done” - not only at Ormiston Denes but also Benjamin Britten High School and East Point Academy, the remaining two Lowestoft schools in special measures.

However, he said each was “moving in the right direction”, with East Point Academy awaiting the outcome of its latest monitoring inpsection.

Yet although Bob Blizzard, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, said: “Well done to staff at Ormiston Denes for working their way out of special measures,” he added that the fact two high schools and other primary schools are still graded as inadequate “suggests there’s a deeper problem with education in Lowestoft”.

He added: “There needs to be an in-depth investigation into the underlying causes of underachievement in Lowestoft.”

He said Labour would propose a local director of school standards, adding: “I don’t think it’s enough to look at individual schools in isolation.”

For an in-depth feature on how Ormiston Denes Academy’s journey out of special measures, read today’s Journal.

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