Official: Thomas Clarkson Academy, Wisbech, the ‘most improved school in Cambridgeshire over the last two years’

Thomas Clarkson Academy with associate principal Richard Scott., He took on the role in the spring

Thomas Clarkson Academy with associate principal Richard Scott., He took on the role in the spring while former principal Anne Hill moved to become executive principal overseeing three secondary academies. - Credit: Archant

New Government figures provide sustained cause for optimism at Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech – a year after Ofsted concluded it still required ‘significant improvement’.

The school has taken encouragement from data that reflects a positive mood change among the 1,300 students and staff through what is known as the Progress 8 measure.

This is a secondary school accountability system that aims to encourage schools to teach a broad curriculum and reward schools that the Government deems to teach all pupils well.

It measures progress across eight subjects from age 11 to 16 and the latest figures – released last week – show that the Thomas Clarkson Academy (TCA) is the most improved school in Cambridgeshire over the last two years.

Associate principal Richard Scott said the results reflect the school’s determination to help students fulfil their potential and the drive to improve outcomes for young people in the area.

He said: “The Progress 8 score is important because it’s about every child, every subject and every grade – it’s all taken into account.

“What we’re now seeing is more young people exceeding expectations and more students going on to post-16 courses and university. It’s reflective of the ambition we share for the young people of Wisbech.

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“This has come about through improving the consistency in the quality of teaching and learning; individualised support for students; meeting the needs of students, and raising aspirations. It’s an indication of the hard work by staff and students at TCA.”

Education experts agree that the Progress 8 score is an important indicator of a school’s performance.

The TCA says that for the past two years their Progress 8 across has risen from -0.56 to +0.11 “which is above the national average of -0.02 and puts TCA in the top three per cent of all schools in England for improvements in this measure”.

In a statement on their website the TCA says that it means “that in the last two years TCA is the most improved school in Cambridgeshire.

“The results also show that it is the third most improved school in the East of England, an area which encompasses six counties.”

Progress 8 compares pupils’ Key Stage 4 results to those of other pupils nationally with similar prior attainment.

The provisional figures released last week reflect Ofsted inspectors’ comments that although there is much still to be done “this is a rapidly improving school”.

Ofsted inspectors noted that TCA “leaders and the principal share a clear vision for the academic and pastoral well-being of all pupils.

“Over the last year, new leaders have introduced policies and procedures which are beginning to have impact, but the impact has not yet had time to be realised fully. “

And Ofsted also noted that “the sixth form is effective. The 16 to 19 study programmes now provide a wide range of academic and vocational courses on which students make good, and in vocational courses very strong, progress”

The academy said that last summer saw sixth form students secure places at Russell Group universities for the first time in the school’s history “an achievement that continued this summer”.