Experts drafted in to improve Cowes school

By Emily Pearce

Friday, January 25, 2013


Experts drafted in to improve Cowes school

The new Cowes Enterprise College, which is not yet ready for students. Picture by Robin Crossley.

EDUCATION experts have been hired to help turn around Cowes Enterprise College after Ofsted branded the school inadequate and placed it in special measures.

Hundreds of parents who attended a heated meeting at the school last night (Thursday) were told the experts, led by the former head of a three times outstanding school Nigel Blackburn, had been commissioned through Kent County Council.

They have been brought in by the Cowes Pathfinder Trust, which runs the school, in a bid to improve standards.

There were calls from parents for chair of governors Alan Wells to resign, and accusations the Isle of Wight Council's decision to close middle schools in favour of a two tier education system had let the Island's children down.

Interim principal James Stewart — drafted in to replace former head Jonathan Russell following his resignation just weeks after the Ofsted inspection — admitted standards were not good enough.

He said: "I'm passionate about what happens to the young people who come through this environment. I promise you now I will do everything I can to move things forward, because it has to be better than it is at the moment."

Parents criticised the school for failing to give their children a good education.

Some said their children had been taught by as many as seven maths teachers in one year, by supply teachers and by teachers who were unqualified — examples were given of a PE teacher taking a maths class, and a Spanish teacher who did not speak Spanish.



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Displaying the last 10 of 11 comments - Show All Comments

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by mark johnson

26th January 2013, at 17:13:53

OMG. This is very sad. I bet Mike Crowe will know how to sort it out?

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by Dave Wilson

25th January 2013, at 22:49:05

scapegoat for their poor management is inexcusable.

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by Dave Wilson

25th January 2013, at 22:47:57

i was at the meeting last night as a concerned parent. Look at the "Vision" of the Trustees at & more details of the Trust at Here they state "From September 2011 Cowes Pathfinder Trust will be responsible for providing education at Cowes Learning Campus - a purpose built 21st
century secondary school". Clearly they are not up to the task! To see Rachael Fidler sit there and roll her eyes & pull faces of disgust when the Trust were criticised was insulting to those parents present. Where were the other members of the Trust? Graham Biss, Christopher Caws, Miranda Courtney, David Cox, Laurence Tennant & Dr Kate McKenzie. If they are as passionate about the school as they state in their "Vision" then they could of made the effort to attend. The Trust & those running it have failed the children & by making Mr.Russell the

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by michael price

25th January 2013, at 17:18:27

i thought a chair of governors was supposed to at the first instance be somebody who could at keep the parents on side so they could at least get their support ,but this seems to be impossible with the current chair ,the community at large find mr wells a huge turn off and as far as i can see the governors will struggle to recruit any new members while he is still at the helm . For the sake of the school and pupils MR WELLS resign, from the reaction you received last night it is clear you are the biggest obstacle

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by Alan Bennett

25th January 2013, at 16:27:47

Why does it always take an Ofsted report for people in charge of educational establishments to realise that they have got it wrong? The Dfe states there are 3 core aims for School governors
1. Setting vision, ethos and strategic direction, engaging stakeholders, and ensuring statutory duties are met.
2. Holding heads to account for teaching, achievement, behavior and safety; challenging and strengthening leadership; contributing to school self-evaluation.
The third is about finances and we assume this is in order at CEC.
So it is reason two why the previous Principle resigned, but the governing body should have been carrying out its core strategies and been monitoring and reviewing progress. So how they can cling on to office after this catastrophic Ofsted report is beyond me.

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by Colin Russell

25th January 2013, at 15:00:03

The only experts needed will be voted in, in May.
Mr love is giving out one message, Mr beynon giving out a different message, sounds like a bit of back stabing, who wants who,s job, after May hopefully they will be both out of a job, and we just get what this Island needs a Council that works for the the good of the Island and not there ego,s

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by Gary Ball

25th January 2013, at 13:51:39

Cowes 'Enterprise' College demonstrating an excellent knowledge and appreciation of 'enterprise'. Let's just hope that the children don't use the fine example that is being taught to them as a guide to business or in fact apply it to any area of their adult life or we'll all be stuffed. Mind you they could always use the alternative lesson currently being taught by denying everything, not taking responsibility for your own actions and failing that stick your head in the sand.

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by David Web

25th January 2013, at 13:37:14

Heard that the school will opening will now be delayed until December, that would make it almost 2 years late!!!

This is really getting beyond a joke.

I expect a lot of parents will be thinking just what have I got my kids into by sending them to CEC. I only hope that WHEN the new INDEPENDENT council takes over after the May Election that they can sort this mess out and those responsible for this debacle are dealt with accordingly., this is peoples future at stake here and you only get one chance at it.

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by Jake Gully

25th January 2013, at 13:22:38

I do hope that the consultants pay will at least partly be performance related.

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by T Rollingsworth

25th January 2013, at 11:57:30

If it's anything like it was when I was there the problem is that a lot of the teachers had inadequate knowledge of the subject!

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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