A SCHOOL that had just won back the community's trust after past troubles has admitted being 'disappointed' by its latest GCSE results.

According to newly-published provisional figures for 2019, The Oxford Academy in Littlemore recorded the worst Attainment 8 and Progress 8 scores of any mainstream secondary school in Oxfordshire.

Just 25 of a 148-pupil cohort are thought to have gained a Grade 5 or above in English and maths, roughly equivalent to the old grade C.

A source told the Oxford Mail that a struggle to recruit and retain teachers in some subjects contributed to this decline, although the 1,000-pupil school has not commented on this.

Headteacher Andy Hardy, who has spent just over a year in post, said: "As the new headteacher, it has been difficult seeing the students attaining such low outcomes.

"I am especially disappointed for those students that have not achieved their 'true potential' after completing their five years of study at The Oxford Academy."

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Progress 8 measures pupils' improvement or decline since starting secondary school, based on results in up to eight qualifications.

It is sometimes seen as a fairer measure for schools in disadvantaged areas, as it accounts for pupils' starting points.

The provisional figure for the academy was -0.66, which was categorised by the government as 'well below average'.

Excluding a university technical college and a studio school, for which Progress 8 is not a relevant measure, and two special schools, this was the lowest result in the county.

It was also a decline on the school's Progress 8 last year, which was -0.06. In 2017, it recorded the second-highest Progress 8 in the county, at +0.52.

The Cherwell School in Oxford recorded the highest provisional Progress 8 this year, at +0.74, closely followed by Didcot Girls' School and Matthew Arnold School in Botley.

Blessed George Napier in Banbury and Gillotts School in Henley also recorded 'well above average' scores, while Gosford Hill School in Kidlington and Larkmead School in Abingdon were the only other mainstream secondaries to record 'below average' scores.

This month the Department for Education admitted getting some scores wrong, but said errors 'will be corrected in the provisional tables'.

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The government's other headline measure at GCSE is Attainment 8, assessing performance in up to eight qualifications.

At the academy, Attainment 8 dropped from 40.5 in 2018 to a provisional 30.7 in 2019.

Matthew Arnold School recorded the highest, at 58.5, followed by The Cherwell School at 58.4.

The provisional figure for the percent of Oxford Academy pupils, who achieved a Grade 5 or above in English and maths, dropped to 16.9 per cent from 22 per cent last year.

Mr Hardy said the figures should not overshadow other achievements, however.

He said: "Last year was an important transition year, where we had a stream of excellent student achievements.

"Often, standard summary headlines distract from the whole academy improvement.

"Our key changes during 2018/19 are important in raising academy expectations of our students, the standard of teaching and learning, and ultimately the overall quality of education.

"I continue to be encouraged by the journey of The Oxford Academy and impressed by our focused and committed students."

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The school is oversubscribed and expects to remain so in the coming years.

Its chair of governors Roy Leach said: "Governors are disappointed that some students didn’t get the grades we thought they were capable of.

"We’ve put in place robust plans to make sure that more students achieve their full potential, and are equipped to realise their aspirations, whether that be going to college, university or getting the job that’ll make use of their talents.

"Governors, staff, and our headteacher are committed to ensuring that The Oxford Academy is the best school that it can possibly be."

The secondary school was rated 'good' by Ofsted in 2016, for the first time since opening in 2008.

It had previously struggled to recruit pupils after being rated 'inadequate' by the regulator - a reputation that had also plagued its predecessor, Peers School.

A turnaround led by the school's previous head Niall McWilliams led to Ofsted praising 'rapid improvements'.

The school's latest accounts said students made 'excellent progress' in 2017-18 due to recruitment and retention of quality teachers.

Provisional 2019 GCSE results went public this month, but confirmed statistics will not be released until January.

Compared to schools nearby, St Gregory the Great Catholic School recorded a Progress 8 of -0.15, categorised as 'average,' and Attainment 8 of 39.8.

Oxford Spires Academy also had results classed by the government as 'average,' with a +0.02 Progress 8 score and Attainment 8 of 47.9.