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UPDATED: Christ the King College in Newport has dropped from being a ‘Good’ school to an ‘Inadequate’ school following a recent Ofsted inspection, the report for which has been published today (Thursday).

The damning report has highlighted that the school’s safeguarding arrangements are ineffective, the behaviour of a large minority of pupils disrupts the learning of others frequently and that a worrying number of pupils experience bullying and believe that nothing is done about it, even when they alert staff.

Christ the King (CTK) has always been regarded as a respected, well-performing school and rightly so – Ofsted have rated the college at ‘Good’ for the past 10 years. But June’s visit has left Ofsted with no choice but to mark the school as Inadequate.

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Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires significant improvement, because it is performing significantly less well than it might in all the circumstances reasonably be
expected to perform.

Recent changes to the leadership and governance of CTK have halted the school’s decline say Ofsted, which leaves a question mark over how bad things could have been if Headteacher Pat Goodhead didn’t step down in March. A new leadership team came into force at the start of the Summer term.

The state of Christ the King College’s finances was revealed exclusively by Island Echo in December last year.

Other concerns raised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate include:

• Leaders, and many staff, apply policies inconsistently. This leaves pupils and parents and carers confused or with a sense of ‘unfairness’.
• Until recently, staff and many governors were not aware of how quickly the school was declining.
• Levels of attendance have fallen in recent years. Rates of persistent absence have risen, especially for disadvantaged pupils.
• Teachers do not routinely use information about what pupils know, understand and can do to plan new learning accurately.
• The curriculum in key stage 3 is not well planned. Pupils frequently repeat what they have learned earlier. Many are bored in class.
• There is wide variability in the quality of teachers’ assessment of pupils’ work. Pupils do not know how to improve their work. Too many parents are not clear about how well their children are doing.
• Staff have access to limited opportunities for training and professional development.
• Students in the sixth form only benefit from focused work-related learning if they organise it themselves

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Councillor Chris Whitehouse, the local Isle of Wight Council member for Christ the King College says:

“The recent results of Christ the King at both GCSE and A-Level show that it remains one of the best schools on the island. The results of the latest Ofsted inspection are unfortunate, but the timing was unbelievably bad. The previous Principal, who provided strong and visible leadership, had just left; and, with the best will in the world, the new leader, could not be expected to be across all the detail within just a couple of weeks of taking up position.

“What I am fully now personally satisfied of, is that the current leadership of the College and the Isle of Wight Council officer team are aware of what the problems were and have already addressed them. Hopefully, we will have a further inspection in a year or so’s time, and we will see the College return to a “good” Ofsted rating. That’s what we’re all working towards. But, for me, that won’t be enough. I want Christ the King, and all our other high schools, to be working towards an “outstanding” rating. Nothing else is good enough for our children”.

Vix Lowthion, who speaks on Education for the Green Party has said:

“Last year, Island Conservatives got elected to County Hall with the pledge that “all island schools will be Good or better by OFSTED by 2021 with 25% Outstanding.”

“Today’s shocking report completely blows that out of the water. It was a ridiculous pledge to make – as lack of funding by Conservative government have left island schools on their knees. And the fragmented system of academies, free schools and church schools severely limits the influence which our local council can have on Education.

“But more importantly this illustrates how out of touch our council leaders are. Good local schools don’t come as the result of statistical analysis and targets. Good local schools are warm, safe and inspirational places to be! I urge all island parents to visit the schools, talk to staff and students and see daily life for yourself – this tells us much more than any OFSTED report ever can”.

UPDATE @ 09:32 – In a letter to parents, Interim Executive Principal, Matthew Quinn, has this morning said:

“Along with the governors and staff, I am profoundly saddened by the outcomes of this report and I know it will be both disappointing and worrying for parents and those connected with the College.

“We accept that the report makes a number of fair recommendations and our plans to rectify these are already well advanced. The report does not describe the College the vast majority of parents and familiar with.

“When you read the report, you may be surprised how little you recognise of our College; the opportunities and experiences that e look to provide for our students are not adequately recognized.

“We will be organizing a number of meetings for parents in response to the report but, most importantly, I can reassure you that:

• Issues related to safety were being addressed before the inspection and are now complete
• Over time, academic outcomes for students both at KS4 and KS5 at the College have been amongst the strongest on the Island
• I take issues related to bullying seriously. We have already started to address the issues raised by a very small number of parents
• The fact that, over the years, a numebr of staff have sent their children to Christ the King speak volumes of the success of the College

“The work has already started to secure rapid improvement. The staff and governing body are fully committed to working with you and the Local Authority to successfully carry out the improvements that are required. We believe that, with your support, the College can make the progress that is necessary. We are confident that Ofsted will see an enormous change when they next visit”.

An information meeting is being held for parents/carers on Wednesday 17th October in the Upper college Sports Hall where governors, senior leaders and representatives from the Local Authority will be present. Children are not welcome.

UPDATE @ 11:16 – Cabinet member for children’s services Councillor Paul Brading has said:

“I am deeply disappointed about the findings of this report. Christ the King College has been a high performing college for a long time where hundreds of students have benefited from good quality education. It is a college with a proud history of delivering strong GCSE results for its students over many years.

“The interim principal and new chair of governors, who have only been in post just months, are already doing an impressive job of turning the school around and they had only been in post for around eight weeks when the inspection took place, so the Ofsted rating must be seen in this context.

“However, since their appointments great strides have been made to implement the report’s findings and recommendations by the inspectors and this good work continues at pace.

“The council has been giving the school support during this process and it will continue to do so. I’m confident Christ the King will be rated as a ‘good’ school again in the future.

“We remain confident that we will have all our schools ‘good’ or better by 2021 – and that Christ the King will be inspected again soon.”

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