ST NEOTS Community College could be out of special measures as early as next term after receiving a glowing report from Ofsted inspectors.

ST NEOTS Community College could be out of special measures as early as next term after receiving a glowing report from Ofsted inspectors.

Assessors praised staff and students for their response to being placed under inspection, and endorsed many of the changes made at the college since it formed a federation with Longsands College in September.

The college was rated “Good” for progress in areas highlighted during its last inspection, including attendance, student behaviour and punctuality.

Executive principal Rob Whatmough is now confident that the college is on the verge of coming out of special measures, to be confirmed by inspectors on their next visit in the spring term.

Mr Whatmough said: “Our staff and students have put a lot of hard work in to achieve this positive report.

“Now what we need to do is sustain and embed those improvements. No one is going to be complacent.

“The inspector's report, and the oral comments made to me, indicate that he felt we are making really good progress.

“If we can keep on improving, by the next visit we will be on the verge of coming out of special measures.”

The monitoring visit, which took place on November 9 and 10, was the first time assessors have observed life at the college since it formed a federation with Longsands College on September 1, and the fourth since it was placed in special measures in March 2009.

Mr Whatmough added: “It's particularly pleasing to see so many parts of the report say “Good”, instead of satisfactory.

“This is a school with many good features, and I am particularly thrilled for the students.”

The college was also rated “Good” for the steady progress it has made over the past 18 months. The “outstanding” support provided by Cambridgeshire County Council was also acknowledged.

The team of inspectors praised the “positive attitude to learning” shown by students at the college, along with the excellent work of teachers and support staff in many lessons.

Teaching was assessed as good or better in 58 per cent of lessons, with the improvement since June's assessment attributed to better relations between students and adults at the school.

The report added: “Teachers and support staff seek to enhance the confidence of students, nurturing those who are unsure of how to engage with tasks and those who need support or encouragement to move to the next level.”

However, lesson planning and marking were highlighted as areas for continued improvement.

Mr Whatmough said the college's focus would be on maintaining the upward curve in the areas praised by the report.

“There are no new issues addressed in the report, which is a positive. The inspection team responded very warmly to the overall ethos of the College and the progress that we have made.”

He added that the college's “assertive mentoring” programme, designed to offer tailored support to help students through their exams, would be a further improvement for next term's visit.

“We still have several issues to address but the report shows how we can rise to the challenge. We are delighted by the inspector's recognition of what the college is already achieving and its further potential.”