The Centre School


Name The Centre School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Requires improvement
Address High Street, Cottenham, Cambridge, CB24 8UA
Phone Number 01954 288944
Type Special
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Not applicable
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 60
Local Authority Cambridgeshire
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No
Highlights from Latest Full Inspection
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Information about the school

The Centre School is federated with Cottenham Village College and shares a site with this mainstream secondary school. All students have statements of special educational needs with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties identified as their primary need. Approximately one fifth are known to be eligible for free school meals and a few students are looked after by the local authority. Nearly all students are White British and many travel long distances to attend the school. At the time of the last inspection the school required special measures.

Main findings

The Centre School offers a satisfactory standard of education. In accordance with section 13 (4) of the Education Act 2005, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that the school no longer requires special measures. Students are making at least satisfactory progress due to considerable improvements in teaching, and good focused support to encourage better attendance and behaviour. A rapidly increasing proportion of students are making good progress, particularly in communication, reading, mathematics and science. Fewer students are making good progress in writing than in the other areas. Not enough opportunities are found for writing across the curriculum and at times the approaches used to teach and encourage reading are not consistent. During the inspection students were keen to tell the inspector about the improvements in their reading and how additional reading support has made a considerable difference to them accessing other lessons. Staff have a growing understanding of the difference between students’ levels of understanding due to missed education and where students have specific difficulties with learning. This helps them to plan effectively to meet students’ needs. Students behave reasonably well most of the time and are far more engaged in learning than they were in the past. There are good examples of students supporting each other, although this is not wide spread. Teachers are more confident to use practical and imaginative activities because students behave more appropriately and this makes lessons more interesting. Lessons usually progress at a reasonable pace but there is not always enough time given to check if students have understood new concepts. Most students enjoy school and benefit from the appropriate balance between more academic subjects and vocational opportunities. A rapidly growing number of students attend very regularly. There are still a few students who do not attend regularly enough and this prevents them from making expected progress. The leadership team has coordinated support across the federation very effectively. Coaching and support offered to teachers from staff at the mainstream school have been a strong contributor to the rapid improvements in lessons. Access to specialist staff and facilities in the mainstream school has also helped to broaden the curriculum. The staff team have worked hard to improve practice. They use careful tracking and evaluation to identify when students are not making acceptable rates of progress. This information leads to swift action being taken and has helped the school to improve considerably over the last year. The governing body has offered good challenge and has established robust systems of accountability based upon the outcomes for students. Improvement in the quality of education on offer at the school based on tight structures and monitoring and evaluation systems demonstrate that the school has a good capacity to continue to improve. Up to 40% of the schools whose overall effectiveness is judged satisfactory may receive a monitoring visit by an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.