PUPILS of a school previously rated inadequate by Ofsted have revelled in the school’s vast improvements – with a Year 7 pupil performing Shakespeare and Year 8 learning Latin.

In March 2018, The Grange School in Christchurch was given the lowest possible rating by the education authority who cited “poor” exam results, behaviour, attendance and teacher expectations as causes for great concern.

Now, following in the vision of an ambitious head teacher and a partnership with a neighbouring school, the Grange is celebrating a double rating boost in less than four years.

An Ofsted report in November last year saw the school leapfrog from inadequate to a 'good' rating.

Head of School Liz Garman has 33 years of teaching experience and was appointed shortly before the damaging Ofsted report was compiled, making it her mission to reinvent the Grange.

She told the Echo: “The first piece of work was to stabilise the school. Get behaviour to a level where students understood what good behaviour was – one of my phrases is ‘this is the way we do things round here’.

Bournemouth Echo: The Grange School in ChristchurchThe Grange School in Christchurch

“That first Ofsted report was a fair judgement of the school at that time, so I was appointed to lead the systematic changes to turn things around. It’s not nice for children to say I go to an inadequate school, all children and parents want to be safe, happy and able to learn.”

Liz and executive head Jy Taylor said much of the work was also to improve the school’s culture and image within the community.

The school also entered into a close partnership with the nearby Twynham School as part of the Twynham Learning Multi-Academy Trust. This has allowed students to undertake additional classes and utilise facilities in both schools.

Of this partnership, Liz said: “This is one town, so why should children in one school have one offer and children in another have a better offer?”

She did, however, stress a desire to further improve different aspects of the school in the future.

Head girl and Year 11 student Indie Thompson started at the school the year of the inadequate Oftsed report. She said: “It’s a completely different school from when I started. In Year 7 behaviour was awful, you just couldn’t learn – it was more of a jungle than a school. It’s got progressively better every year since and now it’s a safe and calm environment to be in.

“The way lessons are taught now are more inclusive and students can get more involved in the lesson itself.”

Head boy Toby Isaacs said: “I go to Twynham to do engineering which has been a huge help because it’s what I want to go on to do post-16. Without the partnership that wouldn’t have been possible.”

Bournemouth Echo: Head of School Liz Garman (far left) and executive head Jy Taylor (far right) with students of The Grange School in ChristchurchHead of School Liz Garman (far left) and executive head Jy Taylor (far right) with students of The Grange School in Christchurch

Year 7 student Theo Marples said: “I joined drama club and as there’s so many extra-curricular activities on offer, I practically have a club every day after school. At drama I got to miss out on lessons and went to the Lighthouse theatre in Poole and performed Shakespeare.”

Year 8 student Rares Popa said: “I was hearing that all students who go here don’t turn out so good so I was worried. Then I got here and realised it was an organised school, with good systems in place and the partnership with Twynham means I get to go over there and do scholars. So I can now learn stuff I wouldn’t usually have been able to learn in school, like Latin.”

The youngster’s also said bullying is almost non-existent. Rares added: “We’re encouraged to report bullying. If any goes on, we report it and it’s done and gone. We’re all friends.”