The decision to keep Gamlingay Village College open was complex. Cabinet members decided to back the college and the majority of community members who wanted to keep it open.
It seems there may be some emerging success.
Standards are starting to rise at Gamlingay Village College, according to inspectors from OfSTED – the Office for Standards in Education.
Inspectors said the proportion of good and outstanding teaching was increasing, and pupils were making better progress than previously.
They praised the leadership of the acting headteacher, adding that issues were being tackled rigorously. Cambridgeshire County Council was also highlighted for the good support it continues to give the school.
The monitoring inspection – the first since the school was placed in ‘special measures’ in February 2011 – concluded that the school was making satisfactory progress.
Inspectors found the amount of inadequate teaching had been reduced, and the proportion of good and outstanding teaching was increasing.
“Inspectors endorsed the school’s views of the common strengths in teaching and these could often be linked directly to recent intensive training that has taken place for all staff.
“During the inspection, the progress pupils were making in lessons was satisfactory, with some examples of good progress,” said their report.
Pupils in turn were praised for their good behaviour and attitudes to work. “Pupils confirm that they are well-informed and well-supported and therefore feel safe and happy. They enjoy their learning more and continue to attend well. They are very courteous,” it added.
Inspectors said acting headteacher Sue Romero – supported by additional senior leaders funded by Cambridgeshire County Council – had created a culture in the school where relationships were good and issues were being tackled rigorously.
“Staff morale is good. This can be seen in their willingness to participate in the considerable additional requirement to attend twice-weekly after-school training sessions. Leaders in the school have an accurate view of the quality of teaching,” they said.
Governors were also highlighted – inspectors said the school’s governing body had many new members who had a good mix of skills and were well-placed to challenge and support.
The report said the school continued to receive good support from Cambridgeshire County Council. “The action plan is detailed and suitably focussed on appropriate priorities. Generous financial support is providing strengthened leadership and suitable training through consultant support and through partnership with other schools.
“Regular and rigorous reviews take place to keep the pace on improvement brisk. The local authority has steered the process of reorganisation sensitively and with the interests of pupils at heart,” the inspectors’ report concluded.
Acting headteacher Sue Romero said: “I am very pleased that the positive progress, hard work and additional training undertaken by staff at the school during the summer term has been fully acknowledged in the OfSTED report. This progress has been achieved with the considerable support and involvement of students, parents, the County Council and other local schools. However, the school is aware that challenges remain in order to ensure that the school comes out of special measures by the target date.”
County Council Cabinet Member for Learning Cllr David Harty added: “A lot of people have devoted a lot of time and energy into transforming the fortunes of this school. I have been deeply impressed with the commitment and dedication shown by leaders and teachers in their determination to provide a higher standard of education for pupils. Although there is clearly a long way to go, progress has already been made. I am impressed and grateful too for the input and support from officers at the County Council, who were rightly praised by OfSTED in the monitoring report.”