Staff and governors at Glenburn Sports College are challenging Ofsted's view of their school after inspectors put it in the “special measures” category.
They say that they don’t recognise the school described in the inspection report, and have made an official representation to Ofsted to dispute the process and the report.
Glenburn received the grading after inspectors visited in March, although until recently the school had been praised by Ofsted for the improvements it was making.
The outcome of the school’s last inspection a year ago was “requires improvement” (RI) overall, with “good” for behaviour and safety.
Headteacher James Harris said: “We do not recognise our school in this report.
“We are on a journey of sustainable long-lasting improvement which puts the needs of each of our young people first and we are well aware that the progress our students make is our key priority.
“Special measures is too harsh a judgement and doesn't reflect the work that's been going on in the school. We know that we are not perfect, but we also know we're making progress and that needs to be recognised.
“Being rated as RI, or 'requires improvement', means we get more frequent smaller-scale monitoring visits to check on our progress, and the last one, a year ago, was very positive and encouraging about the improvements we are making.
“The head of Ofsted himself, Michael Wilshaw, has recently said he'd review the inspection schedule of RI schools such as ours, to ensure relatively new heads are given sufficient time to address difficulties that face them. This seems to have been completely ignored in our case.
“We remain in dispute with Ofsted over the timing and severity of the report, but in the meantime we are focusing all our efforts on providing Glenburn students with an excellent education and continuing to build on the improvements we have already made.”
The school has an action plan in place and is receiving support from the county council's education advisers and consultants.