Special school with 'patient' and 'passionate' teachers earns 'good' Ofsted rating

Children at The Centre School
-Credit: (Image: Astrea Academy Trust)


A special education school in Cambridgeshire has been praised by Ofsted in an inspection report that returned a "good" rating. The Centre School in Cottenham teaches children with education, health and care plans between the ages of 11 and 19.

Ofsted inspected the school in May 2024. Inspectors explain in the school's report: "Pupils are happy and feel safe at The Centre School. Most pupils join having experienced challenges in education elsewhere.

"This means that they start with gaps in their knowledge and lack the behaviours they need to learn well. The school helps pupils quickly develop the knowledge and attitudes they need to make positive choices to be successful.

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"The school has high expectations for what pupils can achieve. Staff understand the specific social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs of pupils.

"They are patient and caring towards pupils. This creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere throughout the school."

The Centre School opened in High Street, Cottenham, in 2012. It is run by Astrea Academy Trust. A previous school, also called The Centre School, taught in the same location between 2009 and 2011, when it closed.

The report continued: "Teachers show a passion for their subjects and have strong subject knowledge. They check pupils’ understanding with precision and use these checks to adapt their teaching.

"This helps them to address any misconceptions or gaps in knowledge that pupils have. With the support of the trust, the reading curriculum has been strengthened in recent years."

This result means the school maintains the 'good' rating it achieved in its first inspection in 2013. School principal, Sue Raven, said: “We are delighted that Ofsted has recognised that The Centre School is offering a positive educational experience that cultivates high self-esteem among our students.

“We will continue to make sure that all members of the school community can take advantage of learning opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom, to ensure that they make good progress and are well prepared for the next stage of life.”

Chief executive officer of Astrea Academy Trust, Rowena Hackwood, said: “We are very pleased with this Ofsted report and I would like to thank all the staff at The Centre School for their commitment and dedication to these young people every day.

“Ofsted has rightly recognised that the school is providing an education that means our young people are successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens.”

The school was rated 'good' in every area inspected: education quality, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management and sixth form provision. It taught 132 students at the time of inspection.