A SCHOOL in Bracknell has been praised for its 'high expectations' and 'ambitious curriculum' after being handed a reaffirmed 'good' rating by inspectors.

Education watchdog Ofsted carried out an inspection of The Brackenhale School, in Rectory Lane, over two days in May. During which, the existing 'good' rating previously awarded to the school in January 2019 and was upheld by inspectors.

Inspectors praised the 'high expectations' around behaviour and what students can achieve, and the 'wide range of subjects' for students in a 'broad and ambitious curriculum'.

The secondary school, which is part of Greenshaw Learning Trust, was also praised for its comprehensive careers programme, and well-planned curriculum for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

However, inspectors did flag that 'too many pupils miss too much school' adding: "Although pupils who are disadvantaged are supported well in school, the attendance of some of them is too low to benefit from this support, and they are underperforming."

The Brakenhale School headteacher Camilla Douglas said: "We are extremely proud of our students, staff, and the wider community and will continue to strive for excellence, to develop provision, to provide all children with an outstanding education, and to ensure our students have a life of choice and opportunity."

The school, which has 1,164 students aged between 11 and 18, has previously prompted debate over its 'zero-tolerance' approach to managing student behaviour.

A number of former staff, students, and parents previously told this newspaper of pupils coming home in tears over 'strict rules', or claims of pupils being given detentions for minor mistakes such as not having a pen in class. 

Some parents, however, that this newspaper spoke to said they found the regime at Brakenhale was encouraging their children to become more responsible and confident.

Greenshaw Learning Trust declined to comment on such reports. 

Referencing the school's approach to student behaviour, the latest inspection report said: "The school also has high expectations for how pupils should behave, and they are well-supported to succeed.

"For example, pupils are expected to come to lessons with equipment and so the school provides spare equipment every morning for all pupils who need it.

"In lessons, pupils work hard, and they benefit from disruption-free learning. On the rare occasion that pupils do prevent others from learning, they are given the help they need to get it right in future.

"The school has a calm and orderly environment, where pupils feel safe. However, not all pupils are happy with the systems that help to create this environment."

Greenshaw Learning Trust chief executive officer Will Smith said: "We are thrilled that Ofsted has recognised the impressive work taking place at The Brakenhale School under the leadership of Camilla Douglas.

"This report is a testament to the dedication of the entire school community to improving the life chances of the young people in our care.”