Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech gets 'good' Ofsted rating for the first time in history

PUBLISHED: 15:51 13 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:52 14 February 2020

Thomas Clarkson Academy is “unrecognisable” after receiving a good rating by Ofsted for the first time in its history. Picture: THOMAS CLARKSON ACADEMY

Thomas Clarkson Academy is "unrecognisable" after receiving a good rating by Ofsted for the first time in its history. Picture: THOMAS CLARKSON ACADEMY

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Principal Richard Scott today was "over the moon" as Thomas Clarkson Academy (TCA) obtained its best Ofsted rating.

Thomas Clarkson Academy is “unrecognisable” after receiving a good rating by Ofsted for the first time in its history. Picture: THOMAS CLARKSON ACADEMY
Thomas Clarkson Academy is “unrecognisable” after receiving a good rating by Ofsted for the first time in its history. Picture: THOMAS CLARKSON ACADEMY

"Wisbech has a good state school for the first time in its history," he said as staff, governors, and students celebrated Ofsted's assessment of the TCA. "This is a school that people can be proud of."

The TCA was ranked as "good" across the board in education, behaviour, development, leadership and sixth form provision.

Inspectors said there was "substantial positive changes" since the last inspection in 2017 when the Corporation Road school was deemed as requiring improvement.

MORE: Thomas Clarkson Academy's road to success

Thomas Clarkson Academy is “unrecognisable” after receiving a good rating by Ofsted for the first time in its history. Picture: THOMAS CLARKSON ACADEMY
Thomas Clarkson Academy is “unrecognisable” after receiving a good rating by Ofsted for the first time in its history. Picture: THOMAS CLARKSON ACADEMY

The education watchdog noted the school was "well led" with the "dedication of leaders and governors impressive".

They also have "high expectations" of all pupils, providing support for those with social, emotional and mental health needs.

Mr Scott said: "We are beginning to have a significant impact on the lives of young people in this town and that is something which will continue."

During the two-day inspection in January, it was noted teachers' subject knowledge is "strong in many subject areas, particularly in maths and English", and the curriculum is "ambitious" for those with special educational needs.

John Constable, lead inspector, said: "The dedication of leaders and governors to the school, the pupils and the local community is impressive.

"Leaders work hard to engage parents and gain the confidence of the community and work effectively with external agencies to support vulnerable pupils.

"Pupils feel safe and well supported in school and staff increasingly motivate them to work hard and try their best."

Mr Constable also praised the level of improvement since the last Ofsted inspection.

He continued: "Pupils are doing well now at TCA. Leaders have made substantial improvements to the quality of education for pupils since the previous inspection.

"Parents and carers, pupils, staff and members of the community comment on the positive changes at the school.

"They say that it is unrecognisable compared with a few years ago."

The school, which has 1,200 pupils on its roll, is part of the Brooke Weston Trust which also oversees Peckover Primary School.

Principal Mr Scott continued: "It reflects our shared ethos that every single young person in Wisbech has the right to a good education delivered by their local school.

"One of the things I am most proud of is that inspectors recognised the positive relationships between students and staff.

"I am also pleased that the number of parents who would recommend TCA has now more than doubled."

The report stated that poor behaviour leading to exclusion had reduced and leaders do not tolerate bullying.

However, there was still room for improvement in a "small number of subjects" such as modern languages to "better support pupils' needs".

"Leaders should continue to raise teachers' expectations of what pupils can do," Mr Constable said.

Brooke Weston Trust chief operating officer Dr Andrew Campbell paid tribute to the "huge talent and determination of all the staff".

He said: "We are absolutely delighted with this judgement, which demonstrates the incredible progress that has been made.

"I'd like to pay tribute to the huge talent and determination of all the staff, especially Richard Scott and Anne Hill, whose vision, determination, commitment and leadership has taken Thomas Clarkson Academy to a level never before seen in its long history.

"This is undoubtedly a 'good' day for Thomas Clarkson Academy and an equally a good one for the town of Wisbech itself."

Secondary executive principal, Anne Hill, added: 'The good Ofsted judgement for Thomas Clarkson Academy has been hard-fougt and hard won by Richard and the TCA staff.

"They have tirelessly devoted hours of expertise to improving the school and the fortunes and aspirations of its students, a journey which I began as its principal in 2016.

"I am so proud that Thomas Clarkson Academy has been recognised for the massive transformation achieved in just a few short years."

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