Boston area school graded 'inadequate' in all areas by Ofsted

The education watchdog’s damning report states ‘pupils and staff have been let down’.
Thomas Cowley High School. Image: Google maps.Thomas Cowley High School. Image: Google maps.
Thomas Cowley High School. Image: Google maps.

The new inadequate grading at Thomas Cowley High School in Donington follows an Ofsted inspection on July 5 and 6. It was previously rated ‘good’ back in 2017.

However, with the school set to be taken over by a new academies trust from September, the future is looking much brighter.

An excerpt from the latest Ofsted report notes: “Pupils are not getting the education they should. Leaders offer them a narrow and unsuitable range of subjects.

"The school has low expectations of what pupils can achieve. In many lessons, pupils are not challenged.

"The programme for personal development is not effective. Pupils are not prepared for life in modern Britain.”

The inspector also states that pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) “do not have their needs identified, assessed or met”.

They also point to issues with vandalism at the school, and “some pupils making derogatory comments that upset others.”

“There is some disruption to learning,” the report reads. “Teachers do not deal with such disruption consistently.”However, Ofsted does recognise that the school is currently “going through a period of change”, adding that “throughout this, key leaders and staff have endeavoured to make sure that pupils feel cared for.

“Many senior leaders left the school recently,” it states. “With external support, the remaining school leaders have acted to identify and address the significant weaknesses in the school. They recognise that there is much work to do to bring about the necessary improvements. They are working with staff on plans to improve the school."

The inspector also describes the school as “friendly”, adding that “pupils feel safe and have good relationships with staff”.

A ‘fresh start’ is now on the horizon for the school. From next month, the school will become part of the South Lincolnshire Academies Trust – and will take on a new name – Cowley Academy.

The Trust says it has experience of ‘transforming’ schools through strong leadership and a proven model by offering exceptional non-selective secondary school education for young people in Lincolnshire.

A spokesman for the trust said: “The Thomas Cowley High School will have a fresh start after receiving an Inadequate grading from a recent Ofsted report.”

Mr Glenn Martin, Interim Head of School at Cowley Academy said: “The school community are obviously disappointed with this Inadequate outcome and how the report represents our school, but it is also important to accept the report in its entirety and recognise that things do need to change. The school will join the South Lincolnshire Academies Trust on 1st September 2022 as Cowley Academy. I am confident that the future for the school is an exciting one and the Trust vision is one the school will now adopt, with the philosophy of offering exceptional education to young people working within a selective area. This is something we feel the students at Cowley Academy deserve.”

Mrs Lucy Conley, Executive Headteacher at the South Lincolnshire Academies Trust said: “I have written to parents and carers to reassure them all that the future Cowley Academy will be a very positive and successful one and to make it clear that this Ofsted judgement represents the school.”

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