BOSSES at a school being forced into academy status because it is ‘failing’ have been told it is making progress after an inspection.

Ofsted inspector Eric Craven said Darwen Vale High School was ‘making reasonable progress towards the removal of the serious weaknesses designation’ after a ‘section eight progress report’.

In his report, made necessary by an ‘inadequate’ inspection last year, he added that ‘the local authority’s statement of action is fit for purpose’.

As reported by the Lancashire Telegraph, the Department for Education has enforced academy status on the ‘failing’ school, despite bosses, local councillors and union officials saying the school is improving and a much-improved set of GCSE results in 2013.

Headteacher Fiona Jack said: “We are delighted with the report. It is great news that the inspector has confirmed we are moving in such a positive direction. I am also pleased that once again we have received a very detailed report that highlights how hard we have been working and exactly where we are improving.

“It makes clear that we know our school well and are moving forward with ambition and absolutely no complacency.

“This is another very positive step forward on our school improvement journey and is a chance to reflect on, and pay tribute to, the hard-working staff and pupils at Darwen Vale who are determined to show what a good school this is.”

Claire Ward, a teacher at the school and rep for the NASUWT teaching union, said it was further evidence that the school did not need to become an academy.

She said: “It says the local authority is ‘fit for purpose’ so there is no need for the DfE to be stepping in. It is just a distraction for the teachers and the job they are doing.”