‘We’re good and we will get even better’

Ofsted success. 'Longdean School's headteacher Graham Cunningham
Ofsted success. 'Longdean School's headteacher Graham Cunningham

A school is in celebration mode after getting a good grading from Ofsted inspectors and learning that funding has been secured for an entirely new school building.

Now Longdean School’s headteacher Graham Cunningham has his sights set on raising the school up to outstanding status for the first time in its history.

The Bennetts End school in Rumballs Road has retained its ‘good’ marking, which was awarded by the education watchdog in 2010. However, under the new Ofsted framework it is now much harder to achieve the rating and many schools have now dropped down to ‘requires improvement’.

Mr Cunningham said: “We are delighted. The students deserve it, the staff deserve it and the local community deserves to have a good school at the heart of it.”

The grading comes as the school learnt that government funding has been allocated for a rebuild of the school confirming that the work will definitely go ahead. The new base is expected to be ready in September 2016.

Mr Cunningham said: “By 2016 we have hopefully got a really high performing school with a building that reflects the quality of what is going on in it.”

He said the new school will allow for more courses to be offered to students and give them state-of-the-art facilities to work in.

“We can look at our vocational programme,” said Mr Cunningham. “We can look at the quality and the environment offered for existing subjects like science and technology and we can also look to 
increase our provision for the arts and performance subjects.

“It means that whatever your unique talents and skills are as an individual you will be able to pursue them in the best available facilities.”

He added: “Longdean students aren’t the students who are told: ‘This is all that you can do’. We want them to choose what they want to do when they leave.”