Principal hails progress as secondary school is taken out of special measures by Ofsted

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson - Credit: Archant

The principal of Sawtry Village Academy says the school has taken a “huge step in the right direction” after it was announced that it was no longer in special measures.

The school was plunged into turmoil in July 2014 when a damning report from Ofsted inspectors saw it labelled inadequate across the board– with former principal James Stewart resigning from his post as a result.

The Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust was brought in during 2014 to bring about improvements at the school, with new principal Sarah Wilson appointed in April 2015.

Ofsted inspectors re-visited the school last month to monitor progress and reported that leadership and management at the school had been “completely transformed”.

The report graded the academy as ‘requires improvement’ overall, with ‘good’ leadership and management.

The school’s sixth form was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted, with particular reference to the standard of teaching, guidance students receive about their next steps after school as well as learning opportunities provided.

Ms Wilson said: “We’re delighted that Ofsted has recognised the remarkable determination and hard work put in by everyone at the academy over the past 18 months under the excellent strategic leadership from CMAT.

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“For the report to say that pupils are proud of their school is a huge step in the right direction. We know we have further to go to embed consistently good teaching, and as such we continue to strive to raise standards further.”

Sarah Wilson was appointed by the trust as principal in April 2015 following a period of undertaking the role in an acting position.

Councillor Simon Bywater, who represents Sawtry and Ellington, added: “We know that there are still areas which need to be improved, but this certainly shows the academy is moving in the right direction.

“And that’s good news for Sawtry – not only for parents and pupils but also the local community. Both of my children studied at Sawtry and as such I have a very personal connection to the academy. I will continue to work with the school however I can to ensure it continues to progress and to safeguard its future.”

In order to continue improving, inspectors said that the school must continue to improve teaching because, it was noted, “it has taken some teachers too long to accept that mediocre results are due to weaknesses in their teaching”.

Inspectors also called for expectations and aspirations to be raised.