Principal confident college told to improve by Ofsted has ‘turned a corner’

Ifield Community College. Pic Steve Robards SR1520671 SUS-150825-103502001

Ifield Community College. Pic Steve Robards SR1520671 SUS-150825-103502001

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A principal said he was confident his school had “turned a corner” despite being told to improve by Ofsted.

Ifield Community College underwent an inspection on March 2/3 and the findings were published on March 30.

Rob Corbett, principal at Ifield Community College

Rob Corbett, principal at Ifield Community College

In her report, lead inspector Helena Read rated the college as ‘requires improvement’ in all areas but acknowledged the work put in by Rob Corbett to turn things around.

Ms Read said: “The principal has determinedly led a shift in culture and expectations at the school. Governors, staff, parents and pupils now feel they have a part to play in raising standards.”

While noting teaching had improved and was “consistently good” in English, maths and history, Ms Read said the quality was still “too variable” with not enough pupils making the progress of which they were capable.

White British pupils, disadvantaged children and those with disabilities or special educational needs were found to be performing less well than their peers, with teachers failing to demand a high enough standard of those with lower ability levels.

But as for the pupils themselves, Ms Read described them as well-behaved, co-operative and respectful and said they were keen to learn and improve their work.

Mr Corbett took over at Ifield in September 2014. Ms Read reported parents and carers felt much more welcome at the school after he and his team developed a range of ways – such as progress review days – to help them get more involved in their children’s education.

She added: “Evidence from parent surveys indicates that parents have confidence in the leadership of the school.”

Reacting to the ‘requires improvement’ rating, Mr Corbett said: “We are actually quite satisfied as the report matches our own self-evaluation closely and many areas have been successfully addressed and improved.

“We are sure the school has now turned a corner and are confident we can achieve ‘good’ next time.”

With the country suffering a teacher shortage, Ms Read’s report recognised the problems faced when it came to recruitment. Mr Corbett added: “The issue of the recruitment of good teachers is affecting all schools and we are trying hard to only appoint teachers of quality as they are the fundamental building blocks of the schools future success.”

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