Lively lessons helping college step it up a notch
EDUCATION watchdogs say pupils' achievements at Cullompton Community College are improving following their latest inspection.
The Exeter Road school is among a handful in Devon to have been scrutinised by Ofsted since the standards board changed the way it judges schools last month.
Headteacher Julie Phelan has praised students and staff for their efforts in ensuring the college was deemed to be 'good' after being classed as 'satisfactory' following inspector's last visit in January 2011.
Ofsted says its "new inspection framework" focuses on the most important aspects of a school's work and will now pass judgement on the effectiveness of its leadership and management in order to "raise expectations further."
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"In 2011 we were judged 'satisfactory' overall, so we have stepped it up a notch," Mrs Phelan said. "Ofsted has really raised the bar in terms of their expectations and not many schools in Devon have been inspected under the new framework, so it is great to become 'good' under that.
"This is a big thing for us and it was done in the heavy snow so it was a complete nightmare, but we have received a really great result," Mrs Phelan added.
Inspectors visited the college on January 22-23 where they observed 25 lessons before concluding the college was 'good' in a total of four categories; achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management.
Lead inspector Helen Matthews found that the percentage of pupils achieving five or more grade A* to C GCSE grades, including English and mathematics, has risen significantly over the past four years and is now above the national average.
Mrs Matthews said: "The school is implementing a range of initiatives to improve reading, writing and communication skills across the key stages. This is already having a positive impact on the quality of students' written and oral communication skills.
"The quality of teaching overall is good, with some outstanding teaching. In the best lessons seen during the inspection, teachers used their expert subject knowledge to plan and deliver lively and engaging lessons matched to students' prior knowledge," she added.
Ofsted will continue to use the four point scale to make either an 'outstanding', 'good', 'requires improvement' and 'inadequate' judgement about the school, with 'requires improvement' replacing the 'satisfactory' grade. Schools will normally get half-a-days' notice of their inspection, with contact normally being made early in the morning of the day of the visit.
Susan Gregory, Ofsted director, said: "The quality of teaching is a key driver of school improvement. It is vital that judgements are fair, clear and helpful to schools. This new framework will focus more sharply on what makes teaching truly effective."