New principal offers renewed hope for troubled Ely College

Richard Spencer, executive vice principal of Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust with two students fr

Richard Spencer, executive vice principal of Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust with two students from Ely College - Credit: Archant

A new principal has been appointed at Ely College who has announced a major change of introducing three year GCSEs for some subjects.

Principal Richard Spencer will shrug off fears of being handed a poisoned chalice as he sets about lifting achievement at Ely College.

Mr Spencer, a former vice principal of Impington College, has worked at the college since April under Evelyn Forde whose short lived tenure came to an end with the transfer of the school to Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT).

Major changes agreed already include extending the time taken for GCSEs to three years and a new system of rewards and values.

On the college website Mr Spencer outlines his plans for a new house system and smaller tutor groups to promote personal development.

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He will introduce a PLEDGES system representing Participation, Leadership, Excellence, Diversity, Giving, Environmental and Service both in and out of lessons.

Physical changes, too, are planned with new toilets, carpets and repainting of much of the college interior.

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“Ely is a beautiful city with a rich history and I want to ensure the college is one of which we can all be proud,” said Mr Spencer.

“We are already taking steps to improve standards but we also recognise our journey isn’t going to be easy and it will take time.

Ms Forde was appointed last April and promised to be “resolute in my determination to make changes at Ely College to ensure that all students fulfil their potential”.

Ms Forde took over after a damning Ofsted inspection plunged Ely College into special measures.

Shirley Jamieson, chairman of CMAT, said: “We don’t have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, and we will be talking to pupils and their families about how we move the college forward, quickly and inclusively.”

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