Sawtry Academy out of special measures - but challenges remain for village school

Sawtry Village Academy
Sawtry Village Academy
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Sawtry Village Academy has moved out of special measures by Ofsted having been “completely transformed.”

The newly released report still graded the academy as ‘Requires Improvement’ overall, but noted ‘Good’ leadership and management – a significant improvement on the previous inspection in June 2014.

The report praised the school for implementing new processes and strategies which have had a positive impact in supporting the safety, welfare and behaviour of students.

Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire, said: “It is good to see that the improvements at Sawtry Village Academy in the last 18 months have resulted in it being removed from special measures by Ofsted.

“Much credit must be given to the reforms introduced by the academy’s parent trust, Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust, and its Principal, Sarah Wilson, who have worked very hard in difficult circumstances.

“Challenges do of course remain for the Academy but this report is an important step in the right direction. I very much hope that we can look forward to further improvement and that a line can now be drawn under the problems of the past which is important for the Academy, its pupils and staff.”

The personal development, behaviour and welfare of students was graded ‘Good’, recognising that all concerns raised by the previous inspection have been fully addressed. The school has also been praised for creating a ‘stronger sense of community’ for pupils.

The school’s sixth form was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted for the fourth consecutive time, with particular reference to the standard of teaching, guidance students receive about their next steps after school as well as learning opportunities provided.

The Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT) was brought in in July 2014 to provide strategic leadership in an advisory capacity, following the school being placed into special measures. Sawtry officially joined CMAT in April 2015, becoming the fifth secondary school in the Trust.

Mark Woods, Executive Principal of CMAT said: “This is a positive result for Sawtry Village Academy.

“CMAT has worked closely with the new leadership team to turn the school around and we’ve seen huge improvements over the last 18 months.

“We’re very grateful for the excellent support of staff, governors and our local MP and councillors, and are delighted that the academy is now out of Special Measures – this is another step towards a bright new future for Sawtry as part of the Trust.”

Sarah Wilson was appointed by the Trust as Principal in April 2015 following a period of undertaking the role in an acting position.

She added: “We’re delighted that Ofsted has recognised the remarkable determination and hard work put in by everyone at the academy over the past 18 months under the excellent strategic leadership from CMAT.

“For the report to say that pupils are proud of their school is a huge step in the right direction. We know we have further to go to embed consistently good teaching, and as such we continue to strive to raise standards further.”

Coun Simon Bywater, Sawtry & Ellington, also commented: “I’m delighted with the progress reported in Sawtry Village Academy’s latest Ofsted report and would like to thank Sarah Wilson and Mark Woods for their hard work, as well as all the staff.

“We know that there are still areas which need to be improved, but this certainly shows the academy is moving in the right direction.

“And that’s good news for Sawtry – not only for parents and pupils but also the local community.

“Both of my children studied at Sawtry and as such I have a very personal connection to the academy.

“I will continue to work with the school however I can to ensure it continues to progress and to safeguard its future.”