A headteacher has paid tribute to her “incredible” students after Ofsted handed the school a good rating.

It was Marsden Heights Community College’s first inspection since being taken over by United Learning Trust, having previously been rated requires improvement before becoming an academy.

In the most recent inspection, Ofsted noted the school, in Edge End Lane, Nelson, was now good in all areas and a “safe, friendly and welcoming” place to be.

The report said: “Pupils and staff are immensely proud of the improvements made to this school in recent years.

“The school has high expectations of pupils’ learning and behaviour. Pupils, including those with special educational needs or disabilities, benefit from learning the same ambitious curriculum.

“Pupils enjoy their lessons and work hard. They achieve well in many subjects and engage with their learning enthusiastically.”

Inspectors were full of praise for extra-curricular activities on offer at the college, such as sports teams, arts and crafts, volunteering and performing arts.

The report went on: “The school has designed an ambitious curriculum across all subject areas. Where subjects are firmly established, pupils achieve well.

“Teachers have secure knowledge of the subjects they teach, and they explain concepts clearly to pupils. Overall, teachers design appropriate activities to help pupils build and remember essential knowledge over time.

“In many subjects, teachers skilfully check what pupils know and remember. In these subjects, pupils’ misconceptions are identified and remedied quickly.”

Marsden Heights’ prioritisation of reading, its broad work with SEND pupils, pupil behaviour and relationships between staff and parents were also praised.

However, there are still a number of areas where improvements are needed for the school to get better.

These include in some subjects, where the curriculum is not fully finalised, some teachers are hindered in checking pupils’ progress, and Ofsted said as the subjects are finalised it needs to ensure this is addressed properly.

It was also noted that advice for pupils on post-16 choices is not always available and it needs to improve its careers education provision.

In some subjects learning is not always suitably adapted for SEND pupils, and Ofsted said needs to be improved to help students achieve as well as they should.

On the result of the inspection, headteacher Alyson Littlewood said: “We are very pleased with this inspection outcome which signifies a step change for our school.

“Over the past few years, we have worked very hard to drive standards and it is hugely gratifying that the inspectors noticed the improvements we have made.

“We are determined to give our pupils the very best educational opportunities and this report will spur us on to accelerate the improvement that is already underway here.

“Thank you to all our staff for their tireless work and dedication to our school community. This report is testament to what they have achieved.

 “This positive outcome, however, would not have been possible without our incredible pupils. I am so pleased that the inspectors found our pupils to be well-behaved, respectful and hard working.

“Throughout the inspection and every day in school, they are all a credit to themselves, their families and our school community and I could not be prouder.”

United Learning Trust took over Marsden Heights Community College in 2020. It has more than 80 schools across the country, including Accrington Academy and The Hyndburn Academy in Rishton.