College on course to regain Ofsted good

Posted on: 16 January 2018

Dawlish Community College is on course to become a good school again according to independent education inspectors.

Inspectors from Ofsted have revisited the school for the first time since December 2016 when they judged it as “requires improvement”.

A new report from senior inspector Iain Freeland said the school is taking effective action to tackle areas for improvement.

In his open letter to Dawlish principal, John Simon, Mr Freeland says: “Senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement in order for the school to become a good school.”

The inspectors visited the school before Christmas and their report has just been published.

It concludes: “Since the previous inspection, leaders and governors have identified the priorities for improvement and implemented plans to bring these about.

“Staff have embraced the changes so far and show a willingness to improve further.”

Mr Freeland says a new assessment system was introduced last year which has been implemented across most subjects and is resulting in improvements.

He says the most able pupils have been targeted and are eager to learn.

“Owing to the effective work of leaders and staff to ensure that pupils are ready to learn, pupils relish the opportunity to attempt ever more challenging work,” he says.

“A higher proportion of pupils are working at the highest grades.”

Mr Freeland says the achievement of disadvantaged pupils has risen sharply and the support for pupils with special needs or disabilities is now more balanced.

“(They) continue to receive the social and emotional support they need,” he says.

The original 2016 report said students at Dawlish are well prepared for life in modern Britain because of its clear focus on doing the very best for each individual.

Dawlish is an inclusive school where pupils are looked after and cared for well.
Their good spiritual, moral, social and cultural development permeated the curriculum and prepared them well for life in modern Britain.

Mr Simon said: “I am pleased Ofsted has recognised we have retained these core values but at the same time we have improved the teaching and learning of all our students.

“We still have improvements to make and we are not complacent but this is a really encouraging way to start the New Year.”

In the latest report, Mr Freeland says Devon County Council has provided leadership support and teachers continue to have training from the Dartmoor Teaching School Alliance.

But he says the pace of change now needs to be accelerated and governors need to raise their expectations of what can be achieved even more.

To accomplish this, the school should identify a partner to help focus more on improving teaching, learning and assessment.

The college has taken this on board and began 2018 with a formal management partnership with Newton Abbot College in place.

Dawlish chair of governors, Jon Harries, said: “Ofsted were very positive about the progress being made by the staff and students.

“We are delighted they recognised the effective action we have taken to ensure our ambition of becoming a good school and their recommendations for how we can achieve this more swiftly.

“The partnership agreement means we can share excellent practice, governance and leadership capacity at all levels to allow both schools to continue to drive rapid improvement.”

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