College is chalking up the improvements

JCSC: Jack Southward, Scott Harvey, Laura Cadman, Zoe Wilson, Francesca Pringle, Hannah Dawson, Rebecca Dargue
JCSC: Jack Southward, Scott Harvey, Laura Cadman, Zoe Wilson, Francesca Pringle, Hannah Dawson, Rebecca Dargue

A school which was branded inadequate by government inspectors a few years ago has turned the corner and is improving, a report has shown.

The encouraging feedback for Amble’s James Calvert Spence College – Acklington Road follows last month’s Ofsted inspection.

While its overall score is a Grade 3 – requires improvement – many areas have been described as good (Grade 2).

It is a dramatic transformation from the scathing report in 2009 when the site, known then as Coquet High School, was ‘performing significantly less well than expected’ and issued with a notice to improve.

The school has since done that and is heading in the right direction. It has been described as ‘an improving college’ due to good leadership at all levels, which in turn is helping students’ academic development.

Pupils have been praised for their good behaviour and their ‘courteous and polite’ manner.

Executive headteacher Christine Graham said: “While obviously disappointed that we were not judged to be good in all aspects of the school, we are delighted that so many of our strengths were recognised and that inspectors felt that we are improving rapidly. We are particularly pleased that our students’ good behaviour and courtesy to others were recognised and that students say we sort out any problems well.”

While the report states that students’ attainment is ‘below average on several measures’, it says that standards are ‘improving rapidly’.

It adds: ‘Improvements in the quality of teaching and students’ achievement, and leaders’ accurate understanding of where further improvements are required, demonstrate that the college’s ability to carry on making improvements is good’.

It says that the governors have played an ‘important role in steering the college through times of change’ and are ‘aware of the strengths and areas for improvement for the college, including the quality of teaching’.

Chairman of governors, Coun Scott Dickinson, said he was delighted with the progress the school has made.

He added: “From a notice to improve a few years ago, many aspects of the school are now judged to be good or improving rapidly. I’m pleased that the hard work and dedication of all staff has been recognised by the inspectors and that we are offering much-improved educational provision.

“I’m confident that we can maintain or further improve those aspects of the school that are judged to be good.”