Sidmouth College Ofsted: school can improve
GIVING a Notice to Improve shows that Ofsted inspectors believe Sidmouth College has the capability of making improvements, says principal David Birch. David Birch this week told the Herald he was pleased the report recognised the college was implementin
GIVING a Notice to Improve shows that Ofsted inspectors believe Sidmouth College has the capability of making improvements, says principal David Birch.David Birch this week told the Herald he was pleased the report recognised the college was implementing strategies to improve the quality of teaching and students' achievement.His letter to parents said systems had been put in place to address the concerns identified.It was a good sign to be asked to improve. "You don't get asked to do that unless they think you can," he said. "If you don't have the structures or people there to do it, they have to put you in special measures."Every school is on a journey to improvement. Some need improving quicker than others. I am very sure the school is making good progress in all the right areas. "The key judge of that is when the GCSE results come out in the summer. People will be aware of how we have moved on academically. I am sure they will be very good."He said the majoroity of the report focussed on the negative "and the positive was as important as the negative."But there is an agenda for improvement and the school does need to respond to it."It needs to improve these systems and I think the structure is in place for that to happen."Mr Birch said he didn't believe teaching staff had low expectations of students and felt the college should "make more noise" about its achievements, such as maths master classes at Exeter University and science and engineering projects."One of the things we have to do is make sure our technology status has greater impact over the rest of the school."Technology results have improved as a result of extra investment and planning but the point about a specialist school is it should permeate the whole place. It is in its third year and should be doing more."He added: "One of the factors is the system of monitoring. Although systems have improved, they are being improved rather slowly. Ultimately it is my job to make sure they are done quickly."The nature of being head is accountability finally rests with me."Chair of governors Sylvia Martin said: "Every aspect of school is leadership, not just the head, but also from the teacher in front of the class."This is a good school with happy students who behave well and whose personal development and well-being is good."You cannot force a child to achieve something, but you can give the opportunity to be happy and contented. "The important thing is balance. Pupils are the most important thing. Governing means to steer. You can't steer something that is not moving and Sidmouth College is moving beautifully."Mr Birch has begun to work on an action plan to address the weaknesses with incoming head Jeremy Roberts.He said: "Whatever the outcome, there will be someone else in charge in September. I don't expect anyone will be asking my opinion and I would be reluctant to give it. There are so many positive things about this place. I wouldn't have stayed here 12 years otherwise.