Upturn at Sawtry Village Academy hailed by Ofsted

Sawtry Village Academy

Sawtry Village Academy Picture: GOOGLE. - Credit: Archant

A school which was once in special measures is celebrating after it was rated “good” and its sixth form “outstanding” in its latest Ofsted inspection.

Sawtry Village Academy principal Sarah Wilson said they were “thrilled” by the result which followed a lot of hard work in turning the school around.

The school, formerly known as Sawtry Community College, was put in special measures in 2014 after being rated as inadequate and last October former head James Stewart, 72, who turned his office into a “sex dungeon”, was jailed for four years for defrauding it of more than £100,000.

But in the newly-published report Ofsted inspectors said: “Leaders have navigated the school through turbulent times since the previous inspection. Their commitment and clarity of purpose have established the foundations necessary to make good improvements.

“Leaders are rightly focused on increasing the progress made by all pupils which has worked well to ensure that achievement across the school is rising.”

It said the head and senior staff were “very ambitious” for the school, which had been on a rapid journey of improvement, and that their commitment and endeavours were evident.

The report said: “The sixth form provides an outstanding education. Achievement overall has been significantly above average for the previous two years. Strong teaching and a very supportive pastoral system are enabling students to follow ambitious career pathways.”

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The school joined the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust in 2015 after seeking advice from it and the effectiveness of the link was also praised by Ofsted.

Mrs Wilson said: “We are thrilled with the Ofsted report and the comments made about all areas of our school. I am very proud of the hard work and commitment that has been shown by the members of staff, the pupils, the parents and the community to ensure Sawtry Village Academy is a school we can all be proud of.

“As the report highlights, the work that has been done at the school has been undertaken against a background of turbulence. Despite this, we have worked incredibly hard with CMAT to ensure students have received the best possible education throughout, which has been reflected in our fantastic GCSE and A level results and in this report.”

She added: “We are excited for building work to begin at the academy following the grant of funding from Cambridgeshire County Council and we continue to fight for the educational environment that our staff and students deserve.”