A headteacher has compared his school to Albion after a significant improvement in their Ofsted rating.

Brighton Aldridge Community Acadamy (BACA), which was placed in special measures last year, was ranked good for personal development and leadership and management following an inspection in March.

The report from 2022 had flagged that pupils “do not feel safe or respected” and said: “Many consider bullying, racism, sexism and homophobia to be commonplace and unchallenged by leaders and staff.”

However, since Jack Davies took over as principal only ten months ago, Ofsted reported that students feel “much safer at school” and that bullying is “not tolerated”.

The Argus: Principal Jack Davies speaking to students at BACAPrincipal Jack Davies speaking to students at BACA (Image: BACA)

Mr Davies compared the rapid improvement at the school to that of the Seagulls’ performance of late.

He said: “Two years ago, Brighton were close to being relegated, they lost their manager, but they got De Zerbi in.

“In the same way that they lost some of their best players we lost some of our teachers but everything else has been improving.

“To go from special measures to where we are now in ten months is rapid improvement - now it’s about consistency.”

For Mr Davies, making sure the school was a safe environment was his number one priority holding regular forums with both parents and staff about what needed to be improved even before taking up the role of principal.

Since taking over, students in Year 7 have community mentors to meet with on a regular basis to discuss aspirations and careers, with a student leadership team also providing input into improvements.

He said: “When I first visited the school I was overwhelmed by the parents and students and their commitment to want a better school.

“It was a case of listening to their views and what they felt needed to be improved alongside members of staff and parents and then implementing that change.”

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Among the other changes implemented by Mr Davies were addressing standards of uniform and providing more trust in students.

He said: “We had a cultural week at the academy which was represented by dozens of cultures and culminated with a food festival. We were showing students could be trusted to do that.

“We also don’t have bells at BACA now - we just have digital clocks because the students wanted to be trusted to move between lessons on their own.”

The school has also clamped down on the use of mobile phones with an effective ban in place.

“I’ve been in charge of a number of schools and I don’t believe mobile phones are needed in education or in the classroom,” he said.

“I walked into the school one lunchtime and it was very quiet in the dining hall because everyone was on their phones so it was more to promote conversation and for young people to have a break from social media.

“The students, although they might not want to admit it, they like not having their phones out all the time.”

The Argus: Jack Davies with students at BACAJack Davies with students at BACA (Image: BACA)

Mr Davies said community groups, including the East Brighton Trust, were essential in helping the school make improvements in such a short space of time.

While the school still requires improvement in the quality of education and behaviour and attitudes he is confident it is heading in the right direction.

He said: “This is only the start of a journey. To get out of special measures in such a short space of time is great. The school continues to improve and we know we get better week by week.

“The students now are very clear that learning must be the priority.

“I’m hoping that we can use this as a catalyst to take the school to the next level.

“I know a lot of people are worried about headteachers being like football managers but I am here for the long haul and I want to see it through.”

Jane Fletcher, chief executive officer of Aldridge Education which is responsible for the academy, said: “I congratulate the staff, students, parents, carers and Mr Davies and his senior leadership team for such a rapid turnaround in a relatively short period of time.

“I am particularly pleased that the inspectors found that bullying is not tolerated and that safeguarding is effective at BACA.

“This report is a testament to the hard work of many people working together to bring about the change needed. I look forward to seeing the school build on this success over the months ahead.”