A school in Oldham has said it is 'incredibly disappointed' to be stripped of its 'outstanding' Ofsted grade in a new report which comes at a time when the setting has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

Oasis Academy Limeside on Third Avenue teaches children from nursery age to 11 years old and has been considered an 'outstanding' setting since 2013.

However, a team of Ofsted inspectors, made up of Claire Cropper, Elliot Costas-Walker and Amy Burkes, visited the academy in March this year and found the school 'requires improvement' in three areas, from the quality of education and early years provision to its leadership and management.

Lauren Norris, the principal of Oasis Academy Limeside, said the school is "incredibly disappointed" by the judgement and that it is "already addressing" the points raised.

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In the inspectors' joint report published this week, the trio still had plenty of praise for the school, finding the children's behaviour, attitudes and personal development to be 'good' overall.

Pupils at the academy "feel safe", are "well cared for", enjoy a variety of clubs, trips and activities and spoke positively about how these opportunities encourage them to develop new talents and interests to the inspectors.

To this end, the school offers leadership roles that the children can apply for, such as 'diversity' and 'power for good' groups.

Ofsted also said the children "typically behave well", enjoy any opportunity to work together on projects and are "respectful" towards each other and staff as the school has implemented "positive" new strategies.

As a result, suspension rates have dropped and students have improved their "resilience and self-confidence".

Oasis Academy has further implemented new strategies to manage pupils' behaviour which is having a "positive impact", for example, suspension rates have reduced and students have "resilience and self-confidence".

Meanwhile, pupils who struggle to manage their emotions "benefit from well-thought-out support", the report added.

When it came to the curriculum, Ofsted said the school has improved its design and delivery, with ambitious aims of supporting pupils for the demands of key stage 3.

Yet despite Oasis Academy's "high expectations" for pupils, the inspectors said aspirations "are often not realised", especially for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

The school's support for SEND children is "not as effective as it could be" due to staff's "varying degrees of understanding", meaning those children "do not achieve as well as they could", the report continued.

Reading is also a particularly sore point in the report after the education watchdog found pupils reaching the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics last year was low in both key stages 1 and 2, and some "struggle to read fluently and accurately".

While it was noted that the school is making efforts to improve with a new reading curriculum and phonics programme, the Ofsted team said "pupils are not as well prepared as they should be" for the next steps in their education and have "considerable gaps in their knowledge that the school is not identifying or addressing quickly enough".

Still, Ofsted praised the school's "effective" phonics programme which is improving the accuracy and fluency of their reading among two- and three-year-old children, while pupils in key stage 2 are building their reading "slowly but steadily".

The report added that youngsters enjoy a range of "well-loved stories, songs and rhymes" and make "rapid gains" in their reading knowledge in reception.

As for staff, the team noted there has been "some turbulence" since the previous inspection more than a decade ago but that the school is now "more settled".

In order to improve, the inspectors advised the academy to ensure pupils' learning gaps are addressed "in a timely manner" so they are well prepared for their next stages of learning.

The team also said the school should ensure staff are fully equipped to support SEND children.

In response to the report, Mrs Norris told The Oldham Times that the Ofsted judgement is not a "true reflection" of the amount of work and positive changes it has made in the past two years under new leaders and staff.

She continued: "We have been on a rapid journey of school improvement and were already addressing the points raised by Ofsted. 

"We are incredibly proud of the many changes we have implemented which are rapidly improving outcomes for children.

"The Ofsted grading comes at the same time as the academy has been shortlisted for the prestigious TES award for the most inclusive school of the year- highlighting the incredible work around inclusion and ensuring the needs of all children in the academy are met.

"I have absolute confidence that we are heading in the right direction, despite the grading.

"I am delighted that inspectors recognised the strength in our practice that underpins the 'good' grading for behaviour and attitudes and personal Development.

"Although I am disappointed with the overall outcome, our own improvement strategy already reflects the same areas highlighted by Ofsted.

"We have been tenacious in implementing our vision for rapid school improvement which was recognised in the report.

"We will continue to work closely with our wonderful children and their families placing exceptional education at the heart of our community.

"Our school is much more than just an Ofsted grading and I am incredibly proud of our brilliant children, parents and staff and I encourage you to come and see our school for yourself.”

Got a story? Email me Olivia.bridge@newsquest.co.uk