A SECONDARY school which saw its inspection results go from best to worst can get top marks again if it becomes an academy, its headteacher said.

Witney’s Wood Green School is to apply for academy status to give it greater independence from Oxfordshire County Council.

It was placed in special measures after being rated inadequate – the worst score possible – by Ofsted last October. It was rated outstanding in 2010.

The school would be part of a new academies trust to be run by Challenge Partners educational charity. A consultation is under way.

An academy is a publicly funded and self-governed state school which is accountable to the Government and can bid for outside funding.

Headteacher Rob Shadbolt said: “The school has made significant improvements in the last 12 months, which we’re pleased with, and we want to sustain that in the future.

“Our ambition is to become outstanding and then play a lead role in the Challenge Partners hub in Oxfordshire and beyond. It feels like the right time to consider it. Our relationship with the local authority is changing as they have less capacity to support schools.

“Although we’ve worked very closely with Oxfordshire County Council while in special measures, once we move past that we’re looking at a partner to work with who can play a fuller part in providing that support. This is about not just the short-term, but the long-term development for the school.”

But he said he would not use new academy powers to change the school’s name, uniform or admissions policy.

He said: “Becoming an academy on its own isn’t going to make the immediate difference, but working with Challenge Partners will carry educational benefits.

“I will have access to headteachers who have already achieved ‘outstanding’, and we can use this organisation’s expertise in specific areas.

“Being the first school in its academy trust means the level of scrutiny will be high, which will help us identify what we can do together to move forward quickly.”

The school, which has about 1,100 pupils, was rated inadequate after GCSE exam results fell from 62 per cent getting at least five A* to C grades, including English and maths, in 2010, to 52 per cent three years later.

Ofsted said pupils made less progress in English and maths than the national average.

Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron said he was “concerned” and met Mr Shadbolt to discuss plans to improve the school.

London-based Challenge Partners was not available for comment.

It has more than 250 schools in its “network”, but Wood Green would be the first school in its new academies trust.

As part of the network, senior leaders from participating schools will carry out annual audits of other schools within the group.

Joy Aitman, of Eton Close, Witney, has three children at the school – Jake, 17, Grace, 16, and  Duncan, 14 – and eldest Rosie, 19, also attended.

She said: “Most of the schools in the UK have had to go down the route of academy so although my political view is it’s not a good idea I can see why they are doing it.

“I’m confident they have the best interests of children at heart.”

A consultation period will be run until Monday, November 3, and the school could become an academy by next Easter.

  • For more information on the proposals, see the school's website.