A SOUTHAMPTON school has been praised by Ofsted inspectors for big improvements across the board.

Upper Shirley High School, formerly known as Bellemoor School, was found to be a "rapidly improving school" providing a "satisfactory education overall" to its pupils.

It's a big turnaround in the performance for the school which was placed in special measures, the most serious category of failing schools, just under four years ago.

Head teacher Cassie Ellins, who took over the school at that time, was praised alongside her senior management team for spearheading the improvements.

Ofsted inspectors described the school's leaders and managers as a "highly effective team" when it came to recognising and responding to the school's past areas of under-achievement.

The inspection team found "rapid and successful improvements" to teaching and learning with standards rising at the end of key stages three and four, although they still remain below average overall.

However, results for the current Year 11 intake indicate that standards have risen and the school is on track to meet its targets.

Upper Shirley High was also complimented for retaining its best teachers and appointing "new and dynamic teachers" with strong subject expertise.

Pupils' attendance levels were found to have improved and closer links forged with the school's feeder primary schools too.

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For the first time in some years the school, which gained specialist maths and computing status earlier this year, will be oversubscribed in September.

It was also praised for being "highly inclusive" with students from a range of cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds.

The school's head teacher Cassie Ellins said: "We are really pleased that the Ofsted report recognised the rapid improvements we have made and fully expect to be an outstanding school in a very short period of time."


  • Good leadership and management.
  • Students enjoy their learning.
  • Family-style tutor groups and house system makes pupils feel safe and well supported.
  • Good pupil attitudes in lessons.
  • Outstanding community participation.
  • Good variety of school clubs and out of school activities.
  • Curriculum matches pupils' individual needs well.
  • Good set of governors.
  • n Good support for pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities.


  • Raise standards and students' achievement across the school.
  • Increase the impact of subject leaders to ensure consistency in planning and assessment.
  • Work with parents and carers to secure full attendance from all students.