Thomas Clarkson Academy must do better, says Ofsted

Thomas Clarkson Academy. Principal Clare Claxton.

Thomas Clarkson Academy. Principal Clare Claxton. - Credit: Archant

The Thomas Clarkson Academy has been told to raise its game after Ofsted said teaching was not good enough and pupils were not properly monitored to check their progress.

Thomas Clarkson Academy. Wisbech.

Thomas Clarkson Academy. Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

The school has been told that inspectors will return again in the near future to make sure progress is being made on a list of recommendations.

Ofsted visited in November and said the academy had an “unacceptably low” maths progress rate by disadvantaged students preparing to sit GCSEs.

Government inspector Jason Howard said: “The support provided by the academy’s sponsor, the Brooke Weston Academy Trust, has not been timely or extensive enough to secure sufficient improvement to the teaching of mathematics.

“Disadvantaged pupils’ progress within mathematics remains unacceptably low.”

The academy, which he said had difficulties keeping staff, now needs to make sure senior leaders and governors monitor the progress of disadvantaged pupils in all year groups to make sure they plan the right improvements.

In addition, teachers in all subjects need to give disadvantaged pupils precise feedback so they know how to improve their work.

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In three subjects of history, Spanish and design and technology extra teacher support and feedback is not always helpful which means students continue to make the same mistakes, the report said.

On a plus, the report said that the school had managed to vastly reduce lateness and has provided an environment which is calm and orderly for disadvantaged pupils.

In addition many disadvantaged pupils were making good progress in the academy’s small sixth form and the work of senior leaders las led to improvements in the attendance of disadvantaged pupils.

“Pupils have responded to the sanctions in place for latecomers and the rewards for being consistently punctual in arrival at school and to lessons.

“Lateness, previously a significant issue, has declined dramatically and is now infrequent,” Mr Howard said.

There has also been success in promoting the high attendance of looked after children, the report said.

Teacher feedback often does not help disadvantaged pupils to understand where they need to improve their work and many disadvantaged students start their GCSE courses with “significant gaps in their knowledge and understanding,” Mr Howard said.

“It is worrying that leaders do not track the progress being made by disadvantaged pupils in year 9 and 10.”

The academy was last inspected in January 2014.