Price of failure too awful to contemplate

THE benefit of the doubt? How many times has that particular phrase been used over the years to excuse the under performance of the Queen’s School, Wisbech, which became, of course, the Thomas Clarkson Community College three years ago.

The recent monitoring inspection by Ofsted, though offering some hope and loosely speckled with optimistic noises, concluded starkly that the school’s overall progress since it opened in September 2007 to be inadequate.

The same inspectors also described progress since the previous monitoring inspection as inadequate and that description must trigger alarm bells both among the staff, governors and the parents.

We have not sought to underestimate the challenges faced by head Maureen Strudwick in bringing order to where there was once chaos but we do wonder if she is being equipped with the level of support needed to vigorously create a turn around in the school’s fortunes?

And we also question whether parents are doing their bit to support her by blatantly removing their children from school during term time for holidays and allowing Thomas Clarkson to achieve one of the worst attendance records of its kind for this particular offence.

Steve Barclay, our newly elected MP, continues to place great store on resource issues in Fenland schools when it comes to dealing with the growing number of children from migrant parents attending our schools, and this, too, has been highlighted in the Ofsted report.

We have no wish to frighten off Ms Strudwick from her commendable and stoic challenge to put Thomas Clarkson onto an even keel but as Ofsted notes, there has been insufficient improvement in the quality of teaching.

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The prize for success in Wisbech is immense- the price of failure too awful to contemplate.

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