Calls to rally around college after Ofsted deliver scathing report and label establishment ‘inadequate’

Ely College. Catherine Jenkinson-Dix, Principal.

Ely College. Catherine Jenkinson-Dix, Principal. - Credit: Archant

Inspectors have delivered a withering assessment of Ely College in a report published this week, branding the school ‘inadequate’.

Ofsted said standards in numeracy and literacy had dropped, targets for pupils were unrealistic and added that changes in staffing had reduced the quality of teaching.

Inspectors also said that “too many students” were being removed from lessons during the day because of behavioural problems and blamed the school’s zero-tolerance policy on “many days of learning being lost”.

David Turner, the lead inspector, said: “Leaders and managers at all levels, including members of the local governing board, have failed to secure sufficient improvement in those areas identified at the last inspection.

“This has resulted in a significant decline in the quality of education provided.

“The principal and senior team have followed policies which have proven to be ineffective, particularly in the improvement of teaching, management of behaviour and development of leadership.

“The academy’s behaviour policy is based on a ‘zero tolerance’ approach. This policy has resulted in a very large number of instances of the removal of students from education, and many days of learning have been lost.

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“Achievement has declined during this period. These arrangements disrupt normal learning and teaching for students.”

The inspector also criticised the school’s governing body, saying that it had been unable to challenge teachers about falling standards because “they have been overly dependent on the picture presented to them by senior leaders”.

In an assessment of the school’s sixth-form college, inspectors said a number of “important improvements” had been introduced added that the facility still required improvement.

In order to improve, inspectors have called on head teacher Catherine Jenkinson-Dix review the school’s policy on behaviour, set realistic targets for students and improve the quality of teaching.

Councillor Mike Rouse, county councillor for Ely, said: “It is very disappointing for the school and the staff but especially for the students and their parents.

“I don’t like the Ofsted model, which is to give a verdict and walk away on the basis of a two-day visit, but particularly at a time when youngsters are about to sit their exams, this couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“I hope that community will rally around behind the college and support the students and that the students themselves will do their upmost in their exams to prove Ofsted wrong and get the best results they can.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK? E-mail daniel.mansfield@archant.co.uk or write to Ely Standard, Alexander House, Fore Hill, Ely, CB7 4AF.

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