‘Good’ education for all in Hucknall as Holgate and National now strive for Ofsted ‘Outstanding’

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Hucknall secondary schools are now providing a ‘Good’ education for all and that’s official.

In a reversal of fortunes, Holgate Academy has been awarded a ‘Good’ status following its inspection by education watchdogs earlier this month.

The news is being celebrated as only three years ago it was judged as being ‘Inadequate’ prompting concern across the community.

But after ‘the principal and leadership team’s relentless efforts’, becoming an academy and a lot of hard work by pupils, staff, parents and governors, it is now looking to a brighter future.

The Hillcrest Drive school is sitting pretty alongside its counterpart, and fellow DALP Trust, The National Academy, which also received high praise following their Ofsted inspection earlier in the school year.

National also achieved an overall ‘Good’ rating but also achieved ‘Outstanding’ in leadership and management.

“This is fantastic news for the town,” said Sherwood MP Mark Spencer. “It is a real reflection of the efforts of staff and pupils and I say keep up the good work.”

Areas for improvement noted in the Holgate report said ‘Aspirations of what students are capable of achieving are not always high enough’.

Mr Spencer said this was something the whole community needed to get behind: “It’s vital that pupils know that the world is their oyster and if they apply themselves and work hard enough they can become whatever they want to be.

“I have no doubt that there is a budding Richard Branson and Lord Sugar in both our secondary schools.”

Holgate’s new principal, Neil Holmes, who took the helm in September, was delighted with the schools success but said ‘it wasn’t a time for resting on our laurels’.

“We are proud of this report as is the community,” said Mr Holmes. “Every child has the right to attend a good school. Everybody has worked tirelessly for two years and this has been acknowledged by Ofsted.

“We are now looking onwards and upwards as this is a stepping stone to become an outstanding school in the future.”

The reaction to the new school status has been very positive with messages of support from across the community, including fellow principal, Simon Jones of National Academy, who was one of the first to congratulate Mr Holmes.

“This is good news for everybody,” said Mr Jones who has also been in post since September. “Ofsted has acknowledged Holgate’s significant improvement and we are very proud of National’s result too, putting us above the national average with ‘outstanding’ aspects.

“Both schools can now look forward to next year as we strive to improve further, sharing good practice, for the benefit of the whole community.”

Holgate’s Facebook page includes numerous messages of recognition from former pupils and parents and the community as a whole.

Helen Bowhay said: “Excellent news and totally well deserved.” Whilst Claire Allsopp added: “Nice to know when you’ve got two kids there.”

A message from a town business owner also offered congratulations as well as a discount: “Make sure your kids are looking their best in new school shoes.Show Me Shoes will give all Holgate students 10 per cent off.”

Holgate’s previous Ofsted report said the school had serious weaknesses: “Teaching is weak and students were making little progress.” It also said: “Behaviour requires improvement” and “too much teaching relies on telling students what to do.”

But in this latest report inspectors said: “Teachers are confident, have good subject knowledge and have high expectations.” It also said: “Students are polite, courteous, work hard and want to learn.” Governors and the Sixth Form also gained high praise.