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Philip Evans


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HONITON: College is on the up

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Honiton Community College is on the up again, after Ofsted inspectors praised the latest efforts to improve the school. Education bosses downgraded the college in February and demanded improvements following inconsistent subject results. Since then, the college’s governors and senior leadership team have been working on ways to raise standards. And after a follow-up inspection last month, the regulator is now satisfied that the college is back on track. In his report, Ofsted inspector Jonathan Palk praised the “effective action” taken to tackle areas requiring improvement. He said: “The plans and action to strengthen subject leadership have moved forward at a good pace. Subject leaders are now better held to account for their performance and that of the students, and they are more involved in reviewing performance through ‘book looks’ and lesson observations. “The use of additional mentoring and coaching support for teachers has begun positively, and the focus on effective marking and ways to improve teacher-led discussions is helping bring staff together to reflect on their practice. Less than good teaching is challenged appropriately and there is an adequate range of support provided through staff training programmes. “Governors are playing their part and challenging senior leaders more precisely about the quality of education.” College principal Glenn Smith welcomed the inspector’s report and said there were “clear plans and structures” in place to ensure the school’s future success. He said: “There is some outstanding teaching going on at the school and we have had some fabulous results – we are now working on bringing those standards up throughout the college to ensure good results in all subjects. “I am pleased that the inspector has identified our action plan as strong and we have clear plans and structures in place to top off what Ofsted has recommended. “We have the best set of governors here I have ever worked with and they have showed the full extent of their commitment and passion to help improve the college. “A lot of factors are now coming together in enabling us to move forward as a school. We have had a long way to go to get here and it has been a real uphill journey but our students are testament to the work we have been doing.” The college recently announced the success of its latest funding bid and work is set to get underway next month on a brand new modern foreign languages and technology building. And the development is only the first phase in a long-term project to renovate the college and bring facilities up to date. Preparation work has already begun for the next round of bids for funding and, if successful again, there are further plans in place for a new multi-purpose hall and extra classroom facilities for the creative arts department. Mr Smith added: “My team put in a lot of time and effort to make that bid successful and we are on schedule to open the building in January. “But we cannot afford to become complacent and we have already started the bidding cycle for the next phase. “In total 45 per cent of the college will be replaced and upgraded, and phase two plans should be firmed up by next month with a bid submitted by Christmas.”


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