A CUMBRIAN academy formed through the merger of two failing schools has achieved a remarkable turnaround in fortunes - after being judged Good by Ofsted.

The seal of approval from inspectors is the latest endorsement for Workington Academy which has seen student numbers shoot up in recent years.

The Stainburn Road academy was graded Good across the board with inspectors highlighting a number of areas for praise.

It’s a different story from the academy’s beginnings, after Southfield Technology College and Stainburn School and Science College were forced to close following poor inspections.

The newly-formed academy became part of Cumbria Education Trust and moved to a new build on the former Stainburn site in 2017.

The inspectors’ latest report said: “Without exception, pupils, and students in the sixth form are immensely proud of their school.

"They are eager to share with visitors all that the school has to offer. The extensive personal development curriculum provides pupils with a plethora of opportunities that enable them to flourish.”

The report added: “Leaders’ improvements to the curriculum over the past two years have been tangible.

"Ambitious for all pupils, irrespective of ability or background, leaders have ensured that pupils study a broad range of subjects. Pupils achieve well.

“By the end of Key stage 4 (GCSEs and other exams), pupils have secured a rich body of knowledge across many subjects. This affords pupils the choice to take advantage of the vast curriculum offer in the sixth form.”

Inspectors said school leaders and teachers had high expectations for behaviour and pupils were unanimous in their view that discriminatory behaviour was not tolerated by anyone in the school community.

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“The mantra, ‘not in our school’ permeates classrooms, the assembly hall and corridors. This helps to ensure that school is a safe, happy place where pupils are accepted for who they are."

Executive Headteacher Des Bird said the Ofsted judgement was down to the efforts of many people who had sought to transform opportunities for young people in the area.

He said: “The journey this school has been on is quite remarkable. The academy has come so far in just a few years and we are delighted this has been recognised.

“Most importantly we have become a very popular choice in our local area because the community can see all the hard work that goes into improving outcomes for our young people.”

The school is oversubscribed again for the 2022/23 academic year. In September there will be more than 1,200 young people on its roll – up from fewer than 800 just four years ago.

Tracy Stainton, chair of the academy’s Local Advisory Board governing body, said: “I am delighted that Ofsted has confirmed what pupils and parents have been saying, that Workington Academy is a Good school with high expectations for our pupils, delivering education in a safe and supportive environment.

“The report also rightly recognises the hard work of Mr Bird and his staff to support all pupils.”

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