THE principal of an academy that was issued with a pre-warning letter by the Department for Education has said the school is on the up.

Ruth Robinson, who took over at Swindon Academy, Pinehurst, in January last year, made numerous changes when she arrived and said the improvements are already having a significant impact.

The United Learning Trust academy was given a pre-warning letter from the Government six months ago, which said it needed to improve or else further action would be taken.

Mrs Robinson, said: “The academy has made huge strides over the last year. All the improvement strategies that we have put in place are now reaping benefits so that achievement is higher than ever before. We have made significant progress.

“For me personally, as principal, I feel that teaching and support staff here have worked extremely hard to raise standards.

“The whole school community has come together at this academy and our students have really worked with us on these changes.

“They recognise they are benefitting in lessons and in terms of their achievement from the changes we have made.”

Eight years ago the academy, which was then known as Headlands School based at Headland’s Grove, was ranked as the worst in the country with only nine per cent of its 148 GCSE pupils achieving five A* to C grades in 2005.

This year, a total of 39 per cent of pupils achieved five A* to C grades at GCSE including in English and maths.

Ofsted inspectors who earlier this year visited the school, now at a purpose-built site in Beech Avenue, recognised the positive improvements being made at the school.

Mrs Robinson said: “We recognise there is even more to be done. We have a programme of improvement, but it takes time for the changes to have an impact. By this summer’s results and next year’s results you will see the impact of the work we have done.”

A spokesman for the United Learning Trust said: “Despite the improvement that has taken place since becoming an academy, we are still addressing its historic underachievement ,which culminated in last year’s pre-warning notice.

“However, as its recent Ofsted report showed, progress is being made and we are confident that permanent, significant improvement is underway.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “Where academies are not performing well, we will take action.

“There have been discussions between sponsors and the Department for Education about the disappointing position at seven academies.

“Following these discussions, we have written seven pre-warning letters. Ministers are demanding urgent action to bring about substantial improvements, or they will receive a warning notice.

“If improvement does not follow after that, further action – which could ultimately lead to a change of sponsor – could be taken.”