New start for school marked down a failure; Switch to an academy sees improvements.
A MERSEYSIDE secondary labelled a failure by Ofsted has made a fresh start by converting to an academy with an emphasis on "traditional values".
Lord Derby Academy in Huyton - formerly Huyton Arts & Sports Centre for Learning - marked the new era with a celebration event attended by Edward Stanley, the 19th Earl of Derby.
The school has broken away from council control to become part of the Dean Trust, which runs a set of academies in Manchester.
ECHO In January last year, Ofsted slapped the school with a Grade 4 "inadequate" tag.
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A new leadership team has since been brought in and headteacher Barry Bridden, who took permanent charge in January, said he wanted to create a school that the people of Huyton would be proud of.
He said: "We base all that we do on traditional values; children stand behind chairs, wear their uniform with pride and always bring in the correct equipment to their lessons.
"Respect is paramount and this has resulted in a 3% increase in attendance and a huge decrease in behaviour issues."
He added: "The academy team will continue to work with Knowsley local authority to ensure that standards are at the centre of every conversation.
new "It is important to me to build confidence in the Huyton community to make sure that the Lord Derby Academy becomes the school of choice for Knowsley parents, just as our other schools within the Dean Trust."
Ofsted inspectors visited the school in December to assess its progress - the third such monitoring inspection to take place since it was judged to have serious weaknesses.
Their report said a "major cultural shift" was necessary and the pace of change at the school had been slow, with too much "lacklustre" teaching.
But inspectors said there had been improvements in behaviour, the school was now a more orderly environment and governors were "passionate and determined" about making changes ahead of the switch to academy status.
The Huyton secondary was among seven new schools Knowsley Council dubbed "centres for learning" in a PS157m scheme in 2009/10 to replace 10 ageing Knowsley secondaries.
Another of the schools, Kirkby Sports College - now known as Kirkby High School - was given the same inadequate rating by Ofsted at the end of 2012.
But it has made rapid improvements since converting to an academy last year.
The Earl of Derby said: "I am delighted to be part of this exciting new era for the school. I join staff and pupils alike by looking forward to seeing the Lord Derby Academy thrive."
ACADEMY: Headteacher Barry Bridden and the Earl of Derby (centre) with staff and students at a celebration event to mark the opening of Lord Derby Academy in Huyton