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Exmouth Community College

Exmouth Community CollegeAcademy Trust

Ofsted Report

Letter to Parents and Carers from principal Andrew Davis.

Dear Parents and Carers

I am writing with respect to our recent Ofsted inspection just before half term. The report will go live later this week on the Ofsted website, however, will shortly also be available for you on our own website at It is worth noting that this is a new inspection framework which is even more robust and demanding than previous frameworks, particularly with regard to the focus on curriculum at a departmental level. This additional rigour has resulted in reduced gradings for schools across the South West including Ivybridge, Teignmouth and Clyst Vale amongst others.

There are many aspects of the report that we are incredibly proud of such as:

  • Our pupils saying the school wants the best for them and helps to develop their interests and talents with many saying they take part in various extra curricular activities.

  • After speaking to a range of students the inspection team observed that bullying is infrequent, is dealt with effectively and pupils know how to keep themselves safe.

  • Pupil's conduct in lessons means they can usually learn without disruption. 

  • The inspection team recognised that safeguarding continues to be effective. Pastoral teams pick up concerns quickly and act appropriately. The College supports families and we are creative in securing outside help for students and families that need it. In particular, those staff working with SEND students support those students with complex needs well. 

  • The inspection team recognised our pupils are tolerant of different beliefs and cultures and appreciate the support the school gives students to prepare them for their next steps.

  • Attendance across the school is improving.

  • Relationships between staff and students are usually respectful.

  • Pupils and parents/carers appreciate the breadth of curriculum choices the school offers at GCSE and in Post-16.

  • Pupils do well in subjects where their learning is well planned.

  • The staff involved with personal development have developed a strong programme and pupils could talk about the importance of diet, exercise and how they can help their own mental health and well being.

  • Post-16 students said to the inspection team that they enjoy their studies and have received help and guidance to secure appropriate university courses or apprenticeships. The attendance of Post-16 is also showing improvement.

  • Post-16 students also value teachers' specialist knowledge which helps them to develop their own specialist knowledge which is seen in the work of students.

  • Many staff share the school's vision.

  • Governors are supportive and provide positive challenge .

There are other areas of the report that we are all immensely disappointed with, particularly around their observations concerning our curriculum. As many parents and carers with older students know we have completely redesigned our curriculum offer and, as yet, this new model has not been tested against external GCSE examinations. Our current Year 11 students are the first cohort through some elements of our new curriculum and therefore it seems a little early to judge, however, we accept their criticism that some students were not able to use vocabulary  as well as expected in Modern Languages and will adapt our schemes of learning and sequencing of learning to reflect their observations. According to data from the Department for Education, Modern Languages has, for many years been one of our consistently highest performing subjects, having been in the top 10% of language departments nationally in 2017 and in the top 20% of language departments in 2019 so they have done well with students in terms of qualifications and there are many elements of their curriculum which are very effective. As we move through the next few months we will continue to reflect on our new curriculum and, where students aren't making the progress we expect, we will ensure that the sequencing of learning is clearer for them.

In terms of working with SEND and lower ability students the inspection team did recognise that all staff were consistently using their Teaching and Learning portfolios to highlight their support for individual students. However, in the future we will make this support more explicit and visible. As well as staff receiving training from a national inclusion expert, Daniel Sobel, earlier in the year staff have continued to have expert inputs during this term to ensure that all students with SEND are given the support they need to thrive.

Finally the inspection team commented on some inconsistent use of the Ready to Learn system which was reported by students. This may be true in some cases since we try to make reasonable adjustments for students with SEND, however, Ready to Learn is also a new system and so we are just about to review its implementation and so there may be some changes that we make based on the views of the inspection team.

We were very pleased that Post-16 retained its good judgement and that Personal Development improved from Requires Improvement to Good. 

However, we are very disappointed that the team felt we did not quite meet the good category for Quality of Education, Behaviour and Attitudes and Leadership and Management and so the College will remain at Requires Improvement overall.

Thanks to all the staff, teaching and support, that have shown such commitment and determination for our students over the past few years in helping students to achieve their best and lead the improvement of many areas of the school. 

While there is much to be pleased with in the report we remain absolutely determined to continue the improvements that we have made over the past two years or so and have already started to develop a Post-Ofsted action plan which will address the issues that are raised in their report. We will publish our action plan in due course and plan in a meeting with parents' and carers to discuss the report in more detail later in the year.

The Governors, senior team and staff remain totally committed to ensuring that our students receive a great education and would like to thank staff, parents and carers for their ongoing support as we work together to become the school we want to be for our students and the community. 

Andrew Davis - Principal