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Ofsted rules failing Crest Academy in Neasden is improving

PUBLISHED: 16:16 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:51 12 January 2016

Mohsen Ojja, principal of Crest Academies                   Pic credit: Adam Thomas

Mohsen Ojja, principal of Crest Academies Pic credit: Adam Thomas

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A failing academy school in Neasden is making good progress towards getting out of special measures, education watchdog Ofsted has ruled.

The Crest Academy in Crest Road was branded “inadequate” in 2013 and again last year for poor quality of teaching, low achievement, and weak leadership.

It was placed in special measures, meaning it was subject to regular short-notice Ofsted inspections to track its progress.

One year since it was handed the lowest rating, an interim Ofsted report published on Thursday says the school is now “taking effective action towards the removal of special measures”.

Principal Mohsen Ojja, who replaced Phil Hearne last January, told the Times: “We are pleased for the children that the decisions we have made since January have been the right ones.

“It’s credit to the students’ determination to do well and to the teachers for their hard work,” he added.

“Fundamentally it demonstrates that with a clear vision and clear expectations, the school can improve. We should be out of special measures sooner rather than later.

“Having said that, we still have a lot of hard work to do.”

Formerly two separate single-sex schools, the Crest Girls’ and Crest Boys’ academies merged last September.

Inspector Robert Pyner wrote that the controversial move has been “successful”, though he said there is still a “legacy of poorer attitudes to learning” amongst older boys.

Otherwise, no “issues” with mixed-sex classes have been flagged up by pupils and staff, Mr Pyner found.

He wrote: “The integration of the boys and girls into teaching groups has led to a broader and more balanced curriculum for all the pupils.

“Equal opportunities for all pupils are securely established.”

GCSE results in 2015 were described as “significantly stronger” than in 2014, while pupils’ behaviour was also reported to have improved.

Mr Ojja was said to be “well regarded” by pupils and staff, and has driven further improvement since Ofsted’s last monitoring inspection in June.

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