Ambitious Chatteris school told to improve

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Leaders of a college which has been ordered to improve by education inspectors say they won’t be satisfied until it is rated ‘outstanding’.

The principal and vice-principal of Cromwell Community College in Chatteris spoke out after Ofsted judged it to ‘require improvement’ in a report published last week.

They said the inspection carried out last month, the first since the college became an academy in 2012, didn’t tell them anything they didn’t already know – and highlighted how improvement plans are already taking affect.

Vice-principal Andrew Hunter said: “Although I only joined in September, I already feel confident that this is a school of real strengths and enormous promise.

“The inspectors were kind enough to recognise that we’ve already got the right plans in place. Yes, we have some work to do, but that is true for any ambitious organisation.

“We won’t be satisfied with being good; we want to be outstanding.”

Principal Jane Horn added: “I’m incredibly proud of our pupils and very grateful to have such a talented and committed staff.

“As a principal, in my first year of headship, I couldn’t ask for a better school community to work in. Our potential is huge and our future is very exciting.”

The Ofsted report said leadership and management of the college, quality of teaching, achievement of pupils and sixth form provision all ‘required improvement’, but praised the behaviour and safety of pupils as ‘good’.

It said: “The quality of teaching is too variable. The good practice that exists in some classrooms is not widespread enough and this means pupils’ experience of school is too mixed.

It said the feedback and guidance pupils receive is also variable, the roles of subject and faculty leaders are not clearly defined, with some not effectively holding teachers to account, and ineffective leadership has led to inconsistencies and a lack of ambition among some teachers.

The report also highlighted many strengths at the college, with praise being given to the “overwhelmingly” positive behaviour in lessons, the “strong sense of community” and a curriculum enriched with “good opportunities” for personal development. Inspectors said “bullies have no chance” and they saw some “exemplary” work in lessons.

They also said the college’s self-assessment was accurate and many of the things needed to bring about improvement were already in place.

Mr Hunter said: “We know we already have wonderful pupils, strong and committed teachers and a very supportive community; the three pillars on which we will build the outstanding school we aspire to be. We will work tirelessly over the next months, continuing the work we had already begun to address those areas we want to improve.”