Felixstowe school back on track

A FELIXSTOWE high school which was told by government inspectors to improve its standards has made rapid progress and is today back on track.

A FELIXSTOWE high school which was told by government inspectors to improve its standards has made rapid progress and is today back on track.

Orwell High School received a “notice to improve” following its Ofsted report in March last year after inspectors reported the need for “significant improvement, because it is performing significantly less well than in all the circumstances it could reasonably be expected to perform”.

However, the inspection team did acknowledge the 885-student school in Maidstone Road had been through a period of instability in the past seven years.

It felt previous weaknesses had been addressed and the new leadership team - led by head Peter Tomkins - was already making good progress and implementing many of the changes necessary to improve standards.

Morale was also found to be improving.

Now the inspectors have revisited the school and have praised both teaching and learning, adding “the 2006 results and this year's teacher assessments show that this improvement has been made”.

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Mr Tomkins said: “We're glad that the Ofsted team recognised the significant progress that has been made, but we are very aware that satisfactory is not good enough and our aim is to be an outstanding school by the time Ofsted return in three years' time.

“Over the last three years we have worked on changing the culture of the school and challenging complacency among all members of the school community, and we are now beginning to reap the benefits.

“This is an exciting time for the school and a great time to be involved. We are very excited about the future.”

The inspectors, who made their follow-up visit last month, said: “There are many examples of good, vibrant teaching and learning throughout the school . . . students show much interest and enjoyment.”

The report identified high standards and high achievement in science and technology, and emphasised the need, already identified by the school, to move from a satisfactory position to a good and outstanding position.

It backed the changes the school has already made, stating: “The headteacher and his senior team have a clear understanding of their school and have established management systems within the school to promote improvement.”

Is your child at Orwell High? Do you think it is improving and moving in the right direction? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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