Blacklands applies for new status as primary academy

Blacklands School
Blacklands School

A PRIMARY school which was placed in special measures following a damning Ofsted report has applied to become an academy.

Blacklands School, in Osborne Close, Freshwater Avenue, was given an ‘inadequate’ rating, the lowest score possible, by inspectors in February.

Ofsted criticised the teaching at Blacklands, saying it was particularly weak’ in years one to four and inspectors also said school leaders were not doing enough to improve the quality of teaching and more was needed to improve pupils’ behaviour.

This week the school announced its proposals to become part of the ARK academy network in a bid to raise standards.

Blacklands’ Interim Executive Board (IEB) has begun a formal consultation with parents, pupils, staff and members of the public.

ARK already runs 27 schools in the UK, including Helenswood and ARK William Parker Academy.

If the plans go ahead, Blacklands would become an ARK academy in September this year.

Little Ridge School in Little Ridge Avenue, St Leonards also applied to become an ARK academy after it was placed in special measures by Ofsted last November. It will gain academy status in the new academic year.

Blacklands appointed a new headteacher last September, Lorraine Clarke, who has already started making improvements to the teaching and learning at the school.

She said: “We think that by working with a really strong network, our school can really thrive. We will maintain the unique character and atmosphere of Blacklands, working closely with parents and pupils. But this is a great opportunity to push our school to raise standards.”

Despite the highly critical report in February inspectors did say Blacklands’ headteacher had identified why pupils have been making less progress than they should be and implemented measures to tackle weaknesses.

They also said children in the Cotton Tree Unit at the school were very settled, thanks to expert support of specialist staff. The unit looks after children with autism.

The consultation to become an academy includes a series of meetings for parents and staff, as well as an open meeting for the public on Tuesday, April 29 at 5pm.

The consultation runs until May 2, 2014 and anyone wishing to submit their views can contact Amy Timmins via or 0203 116 0764.

Blacklands’ previous inspection was in 2010 when it was rated as ‘good’.