Ely College stays in special measures - and warned of ‘much work to be done’ - after Ofsted identifies poor teaching and bad behaviour

Ely College. Picture: Steve Williams

Ely College. Picture: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant

Poor teaching and badly behaved pupils are two of the elements that Ofsted feel are holding back Ely College which it also accuses of not doing enough to be removed from special measures.

Ely College.

Ely College. - Credit: Archant

These were among the findings, released today, of a two day inspection of the college on February 23 and 24.

It was the third monitoring inspection by Ofsted since the academy was placed in special measures 13 months ago – last month inspectors popped in to observe teaching in 20 lessons and a school assembly.

Paul Tomkow, lead inspector, said they also met with academy representatives, the chairman of the rapid improvement board, and a number of students.

Mr Tomkow said they discussed behaviour, teaching and learning with the students. looked at course books, and investigated an allegation of bullying.

“Although improvements have been made to the quality of teaching these are not yet having an impact on enough lessons,” said Mr Tomkow.

“The rates of progress that most pupils are making are slow.”

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Inspectors looked at pupils’ books which indicated “levels of attainment remain below where they should be for too many pupils. “

And he said progress by pupils of average or low ability was of “particular concern. “The work seen in their books indicates that their attainment is well below where it should be.

“Senior leaders have not ensured that teachers do enough to support the development of literacy skills for these pupils. Their progress and attainment in mathematics is also weak.

“Too often the quality of teaching is not good enough to help them close gaps in their learning in mathematics and make the progress that is required for them to achieve well.”

However Mr Tomkow said many of the most able pupils are making good progress and teachers have higher expectations of these pupils.

Since the last inspection three teachers have left, six have been appointed and a new head of mathematics has joined at half term. Eleven posts are filled by temporary appointments.

“Although the quality of teaching is improving there are still too many lessons in which pupils fail to make the progress of which they are capable,” said Mr Tomkow.

He was also critical of lessons in which pupils “demonstrated poor attitudes to learning. This behaviour often led to disruption and pupils made little progress as a result”.

He highlighted good examples of teachers helping pupils to improve but also observed that “some teachers are still failing to follow the academy’s marking policy. Inspectors again saw books with work that had been left unmarked for long periods.

“The standard of work and the quality of presentation in these books was poor.”

But on behaviour Ofsted is concerned by the “small numbers” of pupils who do not settle and prevent others from doing so.

“This disruption occurs mainly, though not exclusively, in lower-ability sets where pupils are already behind where they should be.”

The inspector said that after meeting with pupils they told his team that not all teachers manage behaviour well enough.

“Inspectors agree with this view,” said Mr Tomkow.

In conclusion he said Ofsted felt the pace of improvement at Ely College has not been fast enough and achievement is still too low.

“There is much work to be done if the academy is to be removed from special measures within the next 12 months,” he said.