'Inadequate' Teignmouth school revisited by Ofsted

Teignmouth Community College
Teignmouth Community College -Credit:Google Maps

A monitoring inspection has been carried out at Teignmouth Community College a year after serious concerns resulted in it being rated as 'inadequate' by Ofsted. The school was heavily criticised for having 'serious weaknesses' in a number of areas including pupil behaviour, low expectations of pupils and a 'poorly planned' curriculum.

At the time of the inspection in March 2023, it had been part of the Ivy Education Trust for nine months and had previously been rated as 'requires improvement' by Ofsted in 2019. Inspectors recently returned to the school in Exeter Road on March 5, to see what progress has since been made.

The outcome of the visit has been published this week by Ofsted. The school has been praised for the 'significant' amount of work that has taken place but more needs to be done.

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A letter from Ofsted to headteacher Rachel Wickham concluded: "Leaders have made progress to improve the school, but more work is necessary for the school to be no longer judged as having serious weaknesses."

It was reported there had been 'fundamental changes' to the structure of the curriculum in all subject areas, and was 'substantially' more ambitious and focused on preparing pupils for exams.

The Ofsted inspector said: "Pupils’ current work shows how their knowledge is building over the course of their studies. However, older pupils, who have not benefited from the improved curriculum until recently, continue to have significant gaps in their knowledge and understanding. You and your leaders appreciate that this needs to be addressed rapidly."

It acknowledged how the school has 'significantly' restructured and expanded its senior leadership team, including appointing an experienced special educational needs coordinator and experienced leaders to key curriculum positions.

The Ofsted inspector said: "Leaders at all levels now have a shared vision for high-quality education and appreciate the pace of change needed."

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In terms of with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), the scale of this task was said to be 'significant' and ongoing.

The Ofsted inspector said: "Disadvantaged pupils are now closely monitored by you and other leaders across the school. These pupils are beginning to benefit from the improvements in the wider curriculum."

Regarding behaviour and attendance, it was noted a new Bridge facility had opened to support persistently absent pupils to return to school with some evidence of success. Support the school has received was also highlighted.

The Ofsted inspector said: "External support has been commissioned to both facilitate change and provide independent scrutiny. You have now introduced school level quality assurance systems to enable evaluation of the emerging impacts of the changes.

"Further embedding this work is rightly a key priority for you and your leadership team. This has been a significant period of change for you and your staff.

"However, throughout this time there has been a consideration of the workload and well-being of all staff. Staff share your desire to improve the quality of education provided by the school and appreciate the importance of change."

The college was part of the Osprey Trust until it amalgamated with Estuaries Multi-Academy Trust in June 2022 to form the Ivy Education Trust. A new headteacher and two deputy headteachers were appointed in September 2022.

Ms Wickham said in a statement to DevonLive: "We are delighted with the extremely positive findings of our recent Ofsted monitoring inspection where it was clear that our relentless and rapid interventions are having a significant impact in transforming Teignmouth Community School. The inspector particularly noted the immediate impact of our strengthened leadership, the collective sharing of a vision for high-quality education and our ambitious and enriched curriculum. As a result, our students are building subject knowledge and developing critical skills to ensure they succeed in adult life. We were thrilled that the inspector confirmed we are on track to securing and sustaining a ‘Good’ Ofsted judgement which our whole community truly deserves."