Queen Elizabeth’s High School, on Morton Terrace in the town, was visited by inspectors from the education watchdog earlier this year.
It was last inspected five years ago and was judged ‘outstanding’ under a previous inspection framework.
This reflected the school’s overall effectiveness under the inspection framework in use at the time.
From then until 2021, the school was exempted by law from routine inspection, so there has been a longer gap than usual between visits.
In the latest inspection, the school was graded in five categories: quality of education which was graded ‘requires improvement’; behaviour and attitudes, which was ‘good’; personal development, which was ‘good’; leadership and management was graded ‘requires improvement’ and sixth-form provision was labelled ‘good’.
The inspection report said: “New leadership has brought about much-needed change.
“Aspects of the school that needed to improve have been quickly identified. Actions have been taken.
“Staff told inspectors that they appreciate the time they are now having to improve their areas of responsibility. There is a sense of optimism.
“Staff said that they felt that previously the school had been ‘stagnant’. They had found this frustrating. They now believe that the school is improving at pace.
“Many are grateful for this change.”
Ideas on how the school can improve in the report said: “Leaders need to ensure that they have an accurate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum and that leaders at all levels are held equally to account for the quality of education in the subjects they lead.
“Faculty leaders do not receive the time or the training to strategically lead the subjects that they oversee.
“The inconsistencies in curriculum intent, implementation and impact mean that not all pupils achieve as well as they could.
“Senior leaders must urgently ensure that faculty leaders receive the support needed to lead in order that the inconsistencies in the quality of education are addressed.
"And leaders should ensure that the curriculum in all subjects is equally ambitious and that all staff support pupils to achieve their potential across the full range of subjects that they study.”
Rick Eastham, head teacher at the school, said: “On September 28 and 29, 2021, Queen Elizabeth’s High School (QEHS) hosted an Ofsted Inspection.
“This is the first time the school has been inspected under the new Ofsted Inspection Framework, having received a full inspection under the previous framework just under 13 years ago in November 2008 at which point the school was graded as ‘Outstanding’.
“This was followed by a mathematics subject survey inspection in November 2014 and a one-day monitoring inspection in January 2016 which confirmed the grading.
“As an ‘Outstanding’ school, QEHS had been exempt from routine inspection prior to the introduction of the new framework in 2019.
“Ofsted visits to schools were put on hold during the Covid pandemic, with September 2021 seeing the restart to school inspections.
“We are delighted that the Ofsted inspection team found our students to be extremely complimentary of their school, and proud to be members of the QEHS community.
“Students feel safe, cared for, and welcome the wealth of opportunities available to them both within and beyond the taught curriculum.
“They appreciate the leadership roles offered to them, behave well and respect others.
“Students continue to leave QEHS as well-rounded young adults well-equipped to thrive as twenty-first century citizens.
“Post-pandemic, Ofsted is not permitted to consider most recent school attendance figures nor students’ academic achievement and progress as part of their body of inspection evidence.
“This is a genuine shame as, despite recognising that many students continue to achieve highly, specific reference to hard data could not be made.
“Similarly, the target setting, monitoring and tracking which indicate the excellent results and value-added year 11 and year 13 are set to attain this summer cannot, regrettably, be taken into account.
“The inspection team, however, did identify inconsistencies in the quality, design and implementation of the curriculum and similarly felt that there should be higher levels of curriculum understanding and greater consistency of application across the school.
"The consequence of these inconsistencies is that the overall effectiveness of the school ‘requires improvement’.
“Naturally, united as a whole school, we are disappointed by these observations and inspection outcome.
"Collectively, we seek to implement the recommendations made in the report as rapidly as possible.
"Crucially, the inspectors recognised this capacity for change and that recent actions have driven school improvement at pace and with purpose.
"There is a real sense of optimism around the journey QEHS is on.”
Rick Eastham concluded: "As ever, the loyalty and sustained commitment of the wider school community remains central to supporting this direction of travel and is very much appreciated.”