A BRADFORD secondary school that education bosses once considered closing due to its poor performance has transformed its fortunes to be rated good in every category.

In 2014 Belle Vue Boys School in Heaton was put in special measures by Ofsted after a damning inspection report that said the school was inadequate in every aspect.

But today the school, now an academy and re-named Beckfoot Upper Heaton, has been described as ‘good’ in every category in an Ofsted report that hails its huge turnaround.

The report, published today, praises improvements in results, pupil behaviour and staff morale.

Head teacher Simon Wade told the Telegraph & Argus that the majority of its pupils had listed the school as their first choice – a huge change from just a few years ago when a school open evening for prospective families only attracted eight people.

In the 2014 Ofsted report, inspectors deemed there were few signs of improvement at Belle Vue Boys, which was then ranked among the worst-performing nationally at GCSE level.

The school also suffered from poor pupil numbers – just over 400 of its 600 spaces were filled, leaving it struggling financially.

Things got to the point where the Bradford Schools Forum had to weigh up options for Belle Vue Boys’ future, which included closing it and moving pupils to a new free school.

But instead the forum opted to find a sponsor to turn the school into an academy. The Beckfoot Trust agreed to take on the school, and, with financial help from the forum, it was turned into Beckfoot Upper Heaton. It became a mixed sex school, and recently saw its crumbling buildings replaced with a new building and sports centre.

The report points out that recent years have seen results improve and a vast improvement in behaviour and pride in the school. It says: “Since joining the Beckfoot Trust, leaders have transformed the school. The headteacher provides strong leadership, and through his work in partnership with trust leaders, he has rapidly developed leadership capacity across the school at all levels. Staff morale is high and pupils are overwhelmingly positive about their experiences. As a result, all aspects of the school have improved.

“Pupils speak politely and with respect to visitors and they work well with adults and each other, both in lessons and when out and about in the school. They are proud of their school and their uniform. Pupils say that they feel safe in the school. They report that bullying of any type is rare in the school. Since the school joined the Beckfoot Trust, pupils and staff report that behaviour has ‘overwhelmingly improved’. Pupils are now making good progress across the majority of subjects.”


Mr Wade said of the new report: “We’re thrilled. The most special thing for me was when we were able to tell the kids.

“It was pretty amazing. We told them in assembly and it got spontaneous applause. When we came in the kids and the staff here had all been chomping at the bit for things to improve.

“Everyone wanted to be part of something better. People wanted things to improve and bought into the trust’s vision from the very start. Now every parent in the area wants to send their child to the school. We told families when we took over that the school was going to do amazing things, and I think we’ve delivered on it. And we haven’t finished, our ambition is to be an outstanding school.”

David Horn, CEO of the Beckfoot Trust, said: “This latest report is a very important one for the school. It shows there has been a cultural change. Before the community didn’t believe in the school, you couldn’t get kids to come to the school.

“Now the children enjoy learning, the staff enjoy working here. Simon has built that confidence in the school, and he had this absolute determination to create a great school.”

They said that since the school became an academy, its Year 7 groups have been full

Michael Jameson, Bradford Council’s strategic director of Children’s Services, said: “The improvement Beckfoot Upper Heaton has shown is fantastic news for pupils, parents and staff.”