Special measures Higham school joins new trust

A Higham Ferrers secondary school placed in special measures by Ofsted is under new management.

Sarah Wilson, Executive Principal at CMAT (centre left), and Angela Smith, Headteacher at The Ferrers School (centre right), with students from the Ferrers School. NNL-191002-190858005
Sarah Wilson, Executive Principal at CMAT (centre left), and Angela Smith, Headteacher at The Ferrers School (centre right), with students from the Ferrers School. NNL-191002-190858005

The Ferrers School, which was given the worst possible grade in July last year, has joined Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT) after Government approval.

A plan to transform the school was praised as effective in a recent monitoring inspection and headteacher Angela Smith said joining a trust will help them on their quest to become a good school.

She said: “I want to thank everyone in our community for supporting us so far on our journey of improvement.

“Ofsted has commented on the improvements we have already taken, and I am incredibly excited to be joining CMAT as the next important step towards becoming the good school our community deserves.

“We have been working closely with the trust over the last term and my colleagues and I have already seen the benefits of sharing knowledge and experiences with our CMAT colleagues.

“I am looking forward to collaborating with other schools in the trust, sharing best practice, and ultimately improving the opportunities available to our students.”

As part of this new era the school will introduce a vertical tutoring system meaning tutor groups will have students from each year group, allowing them to support each other and provide positive role models for their younger peers.

The school in Queensway will also be introducing a new rewards initiative called PLEDGES, which has been developed at all of CMAT’s schools.

Similar to the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, PLEDGES are additional awards that help students develop character and responsibility that can be taken into their adult life.

The trust will soon have another school in the north of the county.

In April 2017 it was chosen to run a new secondary free school in the Corby area, which is expected to be built near Weldon.

This new school will also be able to work in close partnership with The Ferrers School once open.

Originally formed by the governors of the outstanding Swavesey Village College, CMAT has a strong track record in helping schools to improve their own standards and achievement throughout the region.

In 2017, CMAT was ranked as the fifth best performing multi academy trust for Key Stage 4 in the Department for Education’s league tables.

Sawtry Village Academy officially joined the trust in special measures and just nine months later was taken out of special measures.

Three years on the school received a good Ofsted rating, with an outstanding sixth form.

The principal of Sawtry Village Academy, Sarah Wilson, will be working closely with The Ferrers School’s senior leadership team to share her knowledge and expertise in school improvement.

Executive principal at CMAT Sarah Wilson said: “I am thrilled that The Ferrers School is joining the CMAT family.

“We aim to provide, support and champion high-quality education at the heart of our local communities and I am excited to be working closely with the school and Angela to build on these values and share my experiences.

“The school has already made substantial improvements and I am looking forward to supporting them as they continue to improve and progress.”