A SECONDARY school has been rated ‘good’ by education watchdogs after quickly dealing with “a rapid and sudden decline in outcomes”.

The Appleton School, in Croft Road, Benfleet, was rated as good across the board , including for the quality of teaching, outcomes for pupils and behaviour and welfare.

Despite previously being rated outstanding, inspectors identified the school as having a number of strengths during their visit on February 12 and 13 of this year.

Inspectors praised teachers for having high expectations of pupils and for setting work which is challenging and helps pupils to move on well from their starting points.

Relationships between teachers and pupils are typically positive, which encourages pupils to try hard and to welcome challenge and support.

Inspectors also found most pupils around the school behave calmly and well and that there is typically good conduct between lessons and during pupils’ free time.

Lead inspector Andrew Hemmings especially praised the leadership of the school after swift action meant a sudden drop in outcomes for core subjects was quickly remedied.

He said: “In 2018, there was a rapid and sudden decline in outcomes.

“In English and science, pupils’ progress fell to well below the national averages. In mathematics, progress was in line with other schools nationally.

“Leaders were quick to recognise this and rapidly began to remedy the problems underlying this decline.

“Because leaders took swift action and worked effectively to improve the way in which subject are planned and taught, pupils in the school now typically progress well in most areas of the curriculum.

“Progress is strongest in science and mathematics.”

In order to improve to outstanding, the school - which holds 1,576 pupils - must improve outcomes for pupils at key stage four - years 10 and 11 - by ensuring teaching, learning and assessment are strong across all classes.

Inspectors also stated improvements must be made in the leadership and management of the school, including that governors and leaders have a better understanding of their work.