Tavistock College recently celebrated the teaching ‘Oscar’ awarded to Crispin Chambers as Secondary School Teacher of the Year. Now the College is celebrating again after Ofsted Inspectors paid tribute to the ‘rapid improvement’ the College has made.
Only two years ago the College was still in Special Measures. Now it is judged a good school in every one of the Ofsted categories. Inspectors had special praise for College Principal, Helen Salmon, and her ‘unswerving commitment and determination’. They commented, ‘She has created very strong senior and middle leadership teams which share and help to implement her uncompromising vision for the college. The capacity to further improve this school is strong.’
Helen Salmon said that the key to school improvement was the quality of teaching and how well the school met the needs of every pupil. The Inspectors saw 54 lessons during the inspection and almost all were good or outstanding. They said, ‘Teachers have a very detailed and accurate knowledge of how well every individual student is learning. Because of this, teaching is focused on helping students to make consistent progress towards their targets’. ‘The College is highly inclusive.’
And there was praise, too, for the students who Ofsted said were ‘…respectful and courteous…proud of their school and their achievements within it’. ‘Students respond well to the College ethos and their behaviour is good. Attitudes to learning in lessons are good as students value what and how they are taught. The effectiveness of support for students with behavioural needs is exemplary.’
The sixth form is an important part of the College and that too was judged to be good, ‘because skilful teaching enables students to achieve well.’ Leadership of the sixth form was good and improving, Inspectors said, and teaching and learning often outstanding.
Helen added: ‘We set high expectations and our staff and students have reacted really positively. Tavistock College is a key part of our community and we are all working to achieve an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report in the future.’
Chair of Governors Alan Jones, was delighted that the report recognised the remarkable progress that had been made. ‘Our aim has always been to make people proud of our school again. It is a great community and it deserves a great school!’
Inspectors commented that ‘Governors and College leaders have given the school a renewed identity based on strong values and high aspirations.’ ‘The governing body has become resilient in its quest to restore confidence in this school within the community.’
Alan said, ‘Staff, Students, Governors and parents have all worked together to improve the College. The Inspectors have told us that there is much that is already outstanding and that capacity for further improvement is strong. We have the best teacher in the country, we are determined to make this the best school!’
The achievement of students in Key Stage 3 is in line with expectation and inspires confidence in their ability to realise their potential as they move up through the college.
Ofsted December 2013 – 2