Principal- and her deputies- leave with immediate effect and governors chairman also to stand down in the wake of damning Ely College Ofsted report

Catherine Jenkinson-Dix and some of her team in 2013 discussing some of the college's achivements wi

Catherine Jenkinson-Dix and some of her team in 2013 discussing some of the college's achivements with Ely Standard Editor John Elworthy - Credit: Archant

The principal of Ely College has stepped down with immediate effect – along with her two vice principals- in the wake of a damning Ofsted report.

Chairman of govenors Ben Gibbs and principal Catherine Jekinson-Dix have both resigned.

Chairman of govenors Ben Gibbs and principal Catherine Jekinson-Dix have both resigned. - Credit: Archant

Catherine Jenkinson-Dix will leave today after Ofsted was highly critical of the 1,300 pupil college describing it as inadequate.

It is an astonishing fall from grace for a college that only two years ago had seen Ofsted praise the “relentless drive and determination” of the principal that had seen the school improve from satisfactory to good.

But today’s Ofsted report paints a much gloomier picture, stating that teaching and behaviour at the school was not up to standard. It also said the school’s zero-tolerance policy was costing students too much time in lost learning.

Ofsted reported that leadership and management, behaviour and safety of pupils, qualify of teaching, achievement of pupils and sixth form provision were all inadequate.

In a letter to parents, Chris Tweedale, chairman of the CfBT Schools Trust, which oversees the school, said: “Mrs Jenkinson-Dix, Ms Martha Ball and Mr Richard Baker have continued to lead the school with great professionalism since the inspection but have all decided that, given the shortcomings identified, they will leave the college at the end of this term.

“This is sad news for the whole college community. I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication, and I am sure you will join me in wishing them well for the future.

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“The chair of the governing body, Mr Ben Gibbs, has also offered his resignation and will step down at the end of term.”

The entire board of school governors has also been dissolved.

Mr Tweedale said he had been “taken aback” by the severity of Ofsted’s report and said that the school would be challenging some of the criticisms made.

He added that a new head teacher would be put in place for the start of the summer term.

He said: “The college will move forward under new leadership and with a new governance structure. A new principal, Evelyn Forde, supported by consultant head teacher Jill Coughlan and two new deputy principals, Martin Serrao and Janet Hallett, will take up post at the beginning of next term.”

Four years ago more than 230 out of 1,250 pupils were removed from classes at Ely College as part of a crackdown by Catherine Jenkinson-Dix.

Her zero tolerance approach saw nearly one in five pupils disciplined on the first day of a crackdown on “low-level disruptive behaviour”.

Not wearing a uniform and use of mobile phones were two of the main offences.

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

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