Pupils celebrate the news their school now has a “good” rating.

A West Norfolk secondary school is celebrating after being rated as “good” across the board.

The new grade for Downham Market Academy follows a two-day Ofsted inspection, five years after the Bexwell Road school was rated as “inadequate”.

In a report published this week, inspectors said the Eastern Learning Alliance Trust, which has overseen the school since 2017, has tirelessly supported leaders to “ensure rapid improvement” across the school. 

The five-strong inspection team, which visited in April, was told by pupils life at the school was “much better” with most parents agreeing.

The report said: “They feel safe, more secure and happier. Pupils praise how their teachers take care of them.”

Although staff had worked hard with the community to shift previously negative perceptions of the school, Ofsted said some of this work had been slowed by the pandemic. 

“While many parents appreciate the quality of education the school now provides, others still need convincing. 

“Leaders are aware of this and are keen to engage further with the local community”, the report said.

Inspectors said pupils enjoy learning and appreciate their teachers. 

Students felt “very well supported” and received the “guidance they need to make appropriate choices about the future”, said inspectors.

But they added sixth-formers have made a limited contribution to the school community.

“As a result, they have not had the opportunities to hone further useful life skills to support them in the next stage of their lives,” said the report.

To improve, inspectors  said leaders need to enhance personal development in the sixth form to increase opportunities to take leadership in order to make a greater contribution to the wider life of the school.

Executive headteacher, Rolf Purvis said the school was thrilled with the report. 

“The Ofsted judgement received this week confirms that the incredible work of staff, students and the wider community over recent years has been given the recognition it deserves.”