An Oxford secondary school has been upgraded by Ofsted despite a “disruptive” protest earlier this year when pupils refused to return to class.

The Oxford Academy has gone from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’ with inspectors noting a “positive transformation” at the Littlemore school in Sandy Lane West.

It comes after an incident of “organised disobedience” in September which saw pupils stage a protest against attempts to improve behaviour.

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The school was forced to shut an hour early and an open event was cancelled.

At the time, the school said some students had "joined in staged, artificial and disruptive events" and it criticised “wildly exaggerated” coverage of the incident.

It prompted councillors in the area to meet with the headteacher after asking for an explanation due to the concerns raised from parents of pupils at the school.

Oxford Mail: Oxford Academy in Littlemore

Just weeks later, the school was paid a visit by Ofsted inspectors.

However, the subsequent report, which was published this week, praised how the school had “raised expectations of behaviour”.

The report said: “Pupils now feel safe and value the care shown to them by staff.

“The school has raised expectations of behaviour. Pupils and staff acknowledge things are improving.

“On the whole, pupils behave well in lessons and conduct in social time is generally orderly.

“Most teachers create calm and orderly classrooms and pupils generally complete what is asked of them.

“Routines and systems to support behaviour management are having a positive impact generally.

“Leaders’ actions have started a positive transformation at the school. Robust plans are in place to continue transforming the school.”

The report graded the school good for leadership and management, and sixth form provision.

It was rated requires improvement in quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, and personal development.

Oxford Mail: The Oxford Academy headteacher Nora WardThe Oxford Academy headteacher Nora Ward (Image: River Learning Trust)

In a letter to parents, headteacher Nora Ward said: “We are proud of the report, and feel it is a recognition of our work, and the improvement journey we are on.”

She added that key areas of focus would be making sure teaching is consistently strong, improving the reading ability of all students, continuing to raise expectations around behaviour, and working on developing positive attitudes to school life and learning.

The Oxford Academy was rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted in 2019 and joined River Learning Trust (RLT) soon afterwards.

RLT is a multi-academy trust that operates 28 secondary and primary schools in Oxfordshire and Swindon.

Its other secondaries include The Cherwell, The Swan and Cheney schools.

RLT chief executive Paul James said: “Much work has been done, and we are pleased that this has been recognised by Ofsted.

“However, we know that there is more to be done.

"There were no surprises in this report for the school leadership and the trust.

"We both have a very clear grasp of where there are issues and what needs to be done to address them.”