Harborough’s Robert Smyth Academy has been told it must do better following an Ofsted inspection.
A report published by the schools watchdog ruled the school has to improve in four key areas of achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management.
Overall the academy was rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ - a new score which relates to the old satisfactory rating.
Last time it was inspected in 2010 - before it gained academy status - it was rated as ‘good’ overall.
Head teacher Colin Dean said: “We were fully expecting this judgement, knowing that most schools have been downgraded using the new, tougher framework and the improvement points are those we had already identified for extra attention.”
Criticisms of the academy outlined in the report include the lack of improvement in the number of pupils getting five or more A* to C grades at GCSE, students making ‘no better than expected progress in English’ and weak teaching in a small number of lessons.
Inspectors said the sixth form needs improvement and that homework is not used effectively by all teachers to raise standards.
The report states: “The systems senior and subject leaders use to improve teaching and raise standards are starting to bring about improvements but have not yet resulted in good achievement for all groups of students, particularly those who are most able.”
The report does praise certain areas of the academy, including its maths, science, sports, music and performing arts teaching and the behaviour of students and caring attitude of staff. Bullying is rare, it states.
The school’s dedication to the arts was recognised the same day as the publication of the Ofsted report as it picked up the Artsmark Gold accolade from Trinity College in Cambridge.
Mr Dean said: “We are very pleased the report picks out those areas of the academy’s life that are so important to us and encourage the whole development of the students in our care.
“Given that the new framework focuses largely on achievement, we were delighted that the inspection team recognised the extensive and high quality range of sporting, musical and cultural activities.”
The academy’s score means it must undergo a second Ofsted inspection within two years.
School governor Kevin Feltham said Robert Smyth may have suffered because - unlike many schools, it does not restrict pupils from taking certain exams if they believe they will not get a good grade.
“It’s disappointing of course but fairly understandable,” said Mr Feltham, who is also a county councillor.
“One of the difficulties with Ofsted is if you get a bad mark in one area you seem to be marked down across the board.
“But we’ll put an action plan together and work it through and I’m sure it will all come together okay.
“I think we’re being pragmatic about it. One looks at the report and there are lessons to be learned so let’s get on and work on improving things.”