The new Cowes Enterprise College building which has been blighted by delays. Picture by Robin Crossley.
INSPECTORS have branded an Isle of Wight high school inadequate, placing it special measures after finding it was failing to provide an acceptable standard of education.
Ofsted inspectors visited Cowes Enterprise College in November and found the quality of teaching and leadership was inadequate, as was the achievement of pupils, according to a damning report published today (Thursday).
"Too much teaching is inadequate and too few lessons enable students to make good progress.
"Examination results are not high enough given students' abilities. Many lessons do not challenge students. Students are given work that is too easy or repeats things they already know.
"Many lessons do not interest students. There are weaknesses in the curriculum. The sixth form is also inadequate," said the report.
"The school's leaders have not done enough to improve teaching and the school is not improving quickly enough. Leaders have too positive a view of the school's effectiveness and do not have an accurate enough understanding of its strengths and weaknesses," it added.
Inspectors found the behaviour and safety of students required improvement, although students were polite, friendly and co-operative and attendance had increased.
It was also found leaders were ambitious for the school — although they had become distracted by the move to the new building — and the governing body recognised its weaknesses and had challenged leaders to make improvements.
Principal Jonathan Russell resigned just weeks after the inspection and has been replaced by interim principal James Stewart.
Chair of governors Alan Wells admitted the report was extremely disappointing, but said governors and leaders were taking the challenges it presented seriously and had sought the help of an education troubleshooter to improve the school.
"We regret Ofsted regulations have made it impossible for us to comment until now which has resulted in a great deal of speculation which we appreciate has been very unsettling for parents, students and staff.
"We are taking the results of the inspection very seriously and are confident that, with the support we already have in place, the college will achieve the high expectations and improvement that the trust and governing body have for pupils, parents and the community," said Mr Wells.
Under special measures the school will be subject to regular monitoring from Ofsted.
The dismal Ofsted report is the latest blow for the troubled school, run by the Cowes Pathfinder Trust.
As previously reported, the opening of its new £32 million building has been delayed by a year and health and safety concerns have been raised regarding the shabby state of the existing building.
The Isle of Wight Council has launched an investigation into the delays and poor project management, and two senior council officers have been suspended over the debacle.
A public meeting will be held at the school next Thursday, when school bosses will answer parents' questions and explain how the school will be improved.
Cowes Enterprise College Ofsted report