Plymouth’s Coombe Dean School Academy is criticized by Ofsted


A Plymouth high school was told it needed to make overall improvements after a report said students were not paying attention in class and caring about their jobs.

Coombe Dean School Academy, in Plymstock, has been told by Ofsted that it needs to improve in all areas – a significant drop in its standards after receiving an outstanding mark on its previous inspection.

The school has been ordered to pull its socks off for overall efficiency; effective leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behavior and well-being; student outcomes; and for its 16-19 year study programs.

School leaders accepted the criticism and said they were already working on improvements, with support from staff and students.

Coombe Dean School Academy Trust

The report pointed out that teaching and student behavior needed to improve at the school, which is part of the multi-academy Westcountry Schools Trust.

He said “too many students are not proud of their work” and “some students too easily lose their concentration during lessons. They die quietly and this slows down their progress.

The report adds: “Too many students do not yet have good attitudes towards their learning. When teachers’ expectations are not high enough, students are not proud enough of their work. This causes some students to regularly produce work that is not the best.

He also said: “A minority of students find it difficult to concentrate on their work during lessons. When given a job that is too hard or too easy, they quickly lose interest. This leads some students to sit down and give up. They end up with gaps in their understanding.

It said:

  • Pupils are not making good progress in a number of subjects. In particular, middle-level pupils do not progress sufficiently and their comprehension is therefore not ensured in several subjects.
  • The progress of disadvantaged students is low. Too few of these students obtain the qualifications of which they are capable.
  • Sixth graders do not do well enough in general applied courses. Their progress is regularly lower than the national average.
  • Teaching is not always good throughout the school. Much of the education is not well planned and therefore does not demand enough of students at all levels.
  • Some teachers do not accurately identify student misconceptions, so gaps in student knowledge are not detected and addressed quickly.
  • The student attendance rate is increasing but remains below the national average. The attendance of disadvantaged students remains stubbornly low.
  • The strategy of senior leaders to improve the progress of disadvantaged students has not had enough impact.
  • The evaluation by middle leaders of teacher effectiveness is too generous. Middle leaders did not improve the quality of teaching in their areas of responsibility fast enough.

But the report identified a number of strengths and said Principal Richard Woodland has a clear vision to further develop the program and ensure more students get good college degrees.

He said senior leaders understand the changes needed to improve student outcomes and pointed out that students’ communication skills are well developed in Grades 7 and 8, and that the systems used to record and assess backup issues have emerged. improved.

Nevertheless, the school must improve the quality of teaching and increase the levels of achievement and motivation of the pupils.

Coombe Dean School in the News

It should also improve the quality of leadership and management and conduct an external review of the school’s use of premium funding.

A statement from Mr Woodland said Coombe Dean School is “always forward looking and always thinking about ways to improve” and is ready to take on the challenge posed by Ofsted.

“All of the areas highlighted in the report are those we identified in our annual school improvement plan,” the statement said. “As a result, we are already making progress and have already introduced significant changes. We have a lot of ambitious plans to raise the bar higher in this New Year.

“We believe that resilience and facing challenges with a positive, forward-looking mindset is essential for young people. We will all face difficulties, setbacks and times when we will not get as much as we would like, and young people must learn to respond positively to these circumstances. “

Type of school – General secondary

Category School – Sponsored by the Academy

Age group of students – 11 to 18

Gender of students – Mixed

Gender of students in 16-19 year-old programs – Mixed

Number of students registered on the school list -1,035

Of which number competing in 16 to 19 study programs – 157

Competent authority – Foundation board

President – Iain Grafton

Director – Richard Woodland

Phone number – 01 752 406 961

Website –

Email address –

The statement said the school accepts constructive comments and criticism and strives to respond to them quickly and effectively.

“Our young people will see us shaping a dynamic approach as a school community as we move forward together,” he said.

“During the first week back, we started talking about the Ofsted report to our students through assemblies and tutoring sessions.

“Our priority has been to reassure young people; it’s important for them to understand that Coombe Dean is still the same happy, safe and secure school they know.

“It’s a place where they can take pleasure in developing their self-confidence, forming positive relationships, satisfying their curiosity and succeeding in their studies.

Likewise, we want them to understand that we see the constructive criticism of the Ofsted report as a challenge and an additional incentive to improve and that we will listen to their ideas on how we can improve.

The school said it had been encouraged by the positive feedback Ofsted had given and still had its vision of “success built on positive relationships.”

“We were further encouraged by the letters of support from parents,” he said.

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