Ofsted says Thomas Clarkson Academy, Wisbech, is ‘rapidly improving’ but bullying and poor behaviour are an issue

Thomas Clarkson Academy principal, Anne Hill. Photo: Paul Tibbs

Thomas Clarkson Academy principal, Anne Hill. Photo: Paul Tibbs - Credit: Archant

Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech is improving but schools’ watchdog Ofsted warned that bullying must be stamped out.

The academy was praised for its leadership and management – especially of the sixth form – but lead Ofsted inspector Adrian Lyons says teaching, students’ development and behaviour has to improve.

The report, which says the school, with 1,200 pupils, now requires improvement rather than being inadequate, has been welcomed by principal Anne Hill - but Ofsted says that exam results and attendance must get better in order for the school to progress.

Ms Hill, who was handed the school’s top job last September, was praised by Mr Lyons, who said she and other senior leaders have provided a ‘sharp focus’ on improving the school and that other leaders have spoke of her ‘clear-eyed prioritisation’.

The school’s sixth form is ‘very well led,’ with students making good progress thanks to a ‘relentless focus’ on improvement and ‘subject expertise’ shown by teachers.

“This is a rapidly improving school,” he said. “Leaders and the principal share a clear vision for the academic well-being of all pupils. Over the last year, new leaders have introduced policies which are beginning to have impact.”

The report did, however, highlight poor attendance, behaviour and bullying.

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“Pupils told inspectors that there is name-calling, which they identify as bullying,” he said. “They do not report is as they view it as part of school life. Pupils who have arrived from other European countries described being picked on and feeling isolated until their English became good enough for them to integrate into the school community.”

He also said lessons are often ‘marred by a lack of attention,’ stemming from teaching that fails to engage the students and ‘expects too little’ of them and that the number of lessons missed is too high.

Ms Hill said: “This report shows that the hard work of our whole school community is having a real impact.

“It is gratifying that the inspectors can see that this is a ‘rapidly improving’ school and that the leadership team both here, and at Brooke Weston Trust, is determined that this will continue.

“I would like to thank all the staff for their continuing dedication and hard work. It is pleasing to see the work of our middle leaders, sixth form and Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG), student services and safeguarding teams being recognised by Ofsted.

“We are all very confident that Thomas Clarkson Academy will continue to improve.”