College loses top rating under new framework

Thurston Community College
Thurston Community College
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A college has lost its ‘outstanding’ rating after education watchdogs overhauled the framework for schools to achieve the top grade.

Thurston Community College is now ranked ‘good’ by Ofsted inspectors who praised students’ progress, the quality of teaching, sixth form and leadership and management.

However, they flagged up ‘some variability in teaching, and a self evaluation which is too fulsome and not sufficiently based on progress and standards achieved by students’.

Principal Helen Wilson said Ofsted is operating under a new inspection framework, which only gives a school the top ranking if its achievement is ‘outstanding’.

Previously Ofsted took account of other outcomes such as safety, pupil behaviour and their contribution to the school and community.

Ms Wilson said: “Our achievement was good three years ago and it’s still good. I would argue that it’s better than it was and lots of other things have moved on.

“It’s unfortunate that Ofsted has changed its framework. Unless you can get outstanding exam results it doesn’t seem to matter which in my view is a really narrow view to look at education.

“Of course exam results are important but they’re one of a number of outcomes which are, in my opinion, equally important.” She added that raising attainment is the ‘core purpose’ of switching to two tier education in the Thurston area, which will see the college operate across a split site.

“Ofsted’s conclusion that our students can do even better in their final exams strengthens our decision to restructure the education system in the Thurston area.”