‘We have more than turned the corner’ – headteacher

James Calvert Spence College building in Acklington Road, Amble.
James Calvert Spence College building in Acklington Road, Amble.

The executive headteacher of an Amble school says progress has been made but there is still work to do after an improving Ofsted report.

And determined Christine Graham believes things are in place at James Calvert Spence College – Acklington Road to go better next time round.

Christine Graham, executive headteacher James Calvert Spence College.

Christine Graham, executive headteacher James Calvert Spence College.

The school has been rated as requiring improvement – the same grade as the previous inspection in February 2013 – but inspectors noted that forward steps had been made.

The quality of teaching, for instance, has gone up, from requiring improvement in 2013, to being good.

Students are also making better progress, although pupils’ achievement is still rated as requiring improvement, especially in English.

However, it is still a step in the right direction for the school which was given the lowest Ofsted grade in 2009, under a different headship.

Mrs Graham said: “We have more than turned the corner and everything is in place to move forward in the future.

“We are disappointed that we were rated as requiring improvement overall after every category was good except for the achievement of pupils.

“But this relates to our 2014 GCSE results, when English didn’t do quite so well. Overall the GCSE results went up by eight percentage points and the soon-to-be-released Department for Education league tables show that 96 per cent of our most able pupils made exceptional progress.

“This information was not available when the inspection was carried out. I believe that we will be a good school in the next inspection. We need to encourage those students who aren’t interested in education to become aspirational.”

The report states that the students are making better progress in the majority of their subjects than at the time of the last inspection, especially in maths and science.

It adds that teaching has improved significantly since the last inspection, but it is taking time for this to overcome previous levels of underachievement and weaknesses remain in English.

The inspectors say that Governors now offer strong and well-informed support to senior leaders, who in turn have brought about important improvements in key areas.

Students’ behaviour is also rated as good.

However, the report says the proportion of students who have gained good grades in maths and English has been consistently below national average since the previous inspection. It adds that pupils still aren’t achieving as highly as they should be.

Ofsted notes that the percentage of disadvantaged students at the school who are eligible for support through pupil premium funding is above the national average.