Hastings school celebrates improved Ofsted rating

Ark Helenswood Academy. Photo courtesy of Google Maps
Ark Helenswood Academy. Photo courtesy of Google Maps

A Hastings academy is celebrating after Ofsted judged it to be ‘good’ in its latest inspection – an improvement from its previous rating.

Ark Helenswood was previously deemed as ‘requires improvement’ before it joined the Ark network in 2014.

The Ofsted inspectors said: “Senior leaders, governors and members of the Ark schools multi-academy trust have worked with dedication to rapidly improve the school. Together they are committed to the school’s continued improvement.”

The report added: “Leaders’ focus is on providing good-quality teaching in the classroom, along with additional teaching which is targeted carefully at the areas pupils need to improve. As a result, pupils make rapid progress and standards are rising. Similarly, there is a strong provision to meet the needs of pupils who have SEN and/or disabilities.”

Ofsted inspectors recognised that ‘middle leaders feel valued and well guided’ and ‘as a result, the quality of teaching within departments and across the school is consistently strong’.

With regards to the Ark Sixth Form, Ofsted inspectors said: “Standards are rising rapidly as a result of effective leadership and improved teaching.”

Principal Tracy Dohel said: “We’re thrilled that Ofsted has endorsed the hard work of all our staff and students at Ark Helenswood. It’s an exciting time for the school, which, with its good rating coupled with its results, can proudly proclaim itself the best secondary school in Hastings.”

Yvonne Powell, executive principal of Ark Helenswood, said: “This is fantastic news for the school and down to the hard work and dedication of principal Tracy Dohel and her staff who have been working tirelessly to bring improvement and positive change to the school. We recognise there is still more work to do and we look forward to building on this success as we continue to strive for excellence.”

Ms Powell, who has been working closely with Ms Dohel over the academic year, will be taking over the headship of Ark Helenswood from September. She said of Ms Dohel: “Under her leadership, she has led Ark Helenswood Academy to a good Ofsted and the highest achieving school in the town.

“We are all very grateful for her accomplishments and wish her all the very best in her new headship.”