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You can read our latest Ofsted Report here.

MVC Ofsted Response

Improving the experiences of students at MVC is imperative as all stakeholders want our students to leave as successful adults.

The school has been on a journey of improvement, overtly accelerating from 1st September 2022 when Mr Bennet was appointed as the Executive Headteacher with responsibility for both St Peters and Melbourn VC. The sudden change was initiated due to the need for effective change to be accelerated.

Rapidly, with the support of the Trust, school staff and wider stakeholders, the following changes were initiated:

  • Senior leadership team members roles and responsibilities defined (September)
  • Head of School internally appointed (May)
  • Pastoral team’s remit/expectations/capacity to support students redefined with posts created to address the identified needs of students.

The impact of appointing a non-teaching member of staff was immediate (process commenced October 2022 and completed April 2023) as five members of non-teaching staff (one per year group) were appointed with initial training/support given. Students realised immediately the benefits of such support, for example, with significantly more students stating there was a trusted adult in the school to whom concerns could be raised, according to student surveys conducted in October 2022 and October 2023.


  • Is now constantly raised as a priority for all staff (contact cleaners/catering and site staff receiving termly updated training) with regular feedback/training delivered.
  • Enclosing the site with fencing has enhanced our safeguarding, supporting an orderly entry into school, whilst decreasing the number of students who are late.

Leadership Development:

Responsibilities were quickly redefined/allocated, resulting in the immediate ownership of key responsibilities within the school:

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Pastoral Care (increasing safeguarding)
  • Student progress
  • Curriculum

This has led to improvements as staff identify areas within their own discrete areas of responsibility for which they lead upon the improvements. Professional Development has been provided which is bespoke to the individual teachers’ areas of responsibility/developmental needs.

The team has expanded, allowing staff to focus on very specific areas of responsibility (including those identified with Ofsted). The senior team now consists of:

  • Executive Headteacher (Mr Bennet)
  • Head of School (Ms Smith
  • Assistant Headteacher – Pastoral Care (Mr Barnes)
  • Assistant Headteacher – Teaching and Learning (Mr Willder)
  • Assistant Headteacher – SENDCo (Mr Pollock)
  • Associate Assistant Headteacher – Behaviour (Miss King)
  • Associate Assistant Headteacher – Assessment (Ms Cooke)
  • Associate Assistant Headteacher – Pupil Premium (Mr Luxton)
  • Associate Assistant Headteacher – Student Participation (Mrs Nicholls)

A large team is required to drive forward rapid sustainable change that does not overly burden staff.


  • Is an important issue to recognise, actively ensuring that it does not become a ‘problem’. This is achieved through using the experience gained by working with the Department of Education on this important matter, which resulted in a case study being nationally distributed regarding supporting staff wellbeing and workload reduction. Staff are notably supported by:
  • Cover being provided for certain tasks (eg writing schemes of work)
  • Support from Human Resources Manager who worked with the Department of Education on the project above
  • Close contact with Union/Staff (Associate and teaching) representatives, proactively seeking opinions on issues/plans/policies.

Teaching and learning:

  • Has been prioritised (previously it was not a feature of the leadership team’s responsibility) through a senior leader, now being responsible for its development. This includes performance management for all staff with cycles now being completed. A team of staff have been trained in the newly developed monitoring process (a triangulation between observation, student work scrutiny and student voice) into which all teaching staff have positively engaged. It is a tremendous accolade to the teaching staff who are clearly demonstrating their desire to learn, and alter their practices for the benefit of their students.

Our teaching and learning quality assurance process now involves:

  • Lesson visits (unannounced) – the outcomes are fed back to the staff involved.
  • Departmental reviews (triangulated with student voice/work scrutiny).

These activities lead onto professional development activities for staff that include:

  • Bespoke – for individual staff
  • Departmental – as trends are identified, e.g. adapted reading for High Prior Attaining students.
  • Whole school – as patterns are highlighted, e.g. succinct, focussed learning objectives.

SEND Provision:

Our care for students with an EHCP has been recognised as effective, but an identified area for development is the impact of reading on students’ learning.

Our new SENDCo has transferred from Comberton Village College using his expertise to instigate new practices:

  • Provide training to the SEND staff on their reviewed roles and responsibilities.
  • Ensure all students have a written strategy that is readily available to all staff/parents
  • Delivers to teaching staff specific training regarding the adaptation of their teaching to address the needs of specific students.

The impact of this work is being reviewed through the triangulation of lesson visits/student voice and parents being appropriately engaged.

Tutor time (And Personal Development):

The quality of this important time of the school day is increasing. Through the appointment of a TLR (Teaching Learning Responsibility) high quality resources are being published to all tutors on a weekly basis. These activities cover a range of age (Appropriately differentiated) activities for students to engage in. An external trainer is being used to support staff with developing their philosophical approach to the importance of tutor time. The impact of the provision of resources is apparent through the increasing quality of students’ experiences in tutor time. The trainer was selected due to their ability to support the change process required, with the TLR holder supporting staff either individually or in year teams in order to enhance the confidence and subject knowledge as they deliver sessions on such issues as relationships/British Values.

Personal Development is lead by an effective experience teacher who has a whole school responsibility for growing the effectiveness of our Personal Development programme. This includes:

  • Personal Development lessons (Years 7-11)
  • Tutor time
  • Events, e.g. CASUS
  • Assemblies
  • Behaviour Curriculum

Teaching, overtly, students about their expected behaviour choices is important. As a school we are very adept now at recording and sanctioning students for negative behaviour choices. But as a school that is about learning, we should overtly teach our students how we expect them to behave. This proactive approach to highlighting pro-social behaviour choices is becoming stronger.

Positive Relationships (Behaviour Policy):

Many ‘traditional’ behaviour policies are about what sanctions to apply, when students make the wrong behaviur choice. We believe that schools are about learning, not only about examination grades but about being a positive member of society through being a successful adult. We want to engender within students, the intrinsic value of being that positive member of society. This we believe will be achieved through working with students to educate them in:

  • What negative behaviour choices are and their impact upon others and themselves.
  • The benefits of positive, pro-social behaviour choices.
  • Personal issues (e.g. safeguarding) that they are challenged by which effects their behaviour choice decision-making.

The most effective teachers have positive relationships with the widest spectrum of students. Therefore, our policy has introduced two additional ‘STEPS’ before negative consequences are applied to a student:

  • Emphasis on building positive relationships with students.
  • Speak to the students (even after school) about their behaviour choices to support restoring the relationship between the adult and student.

Bringing the experience gained through gradually from the Department of Education ‘Behaviour hub’ initiative has been useful. This experience has supported the formulation of the revised policy, communication to staff/students, amending the policy and importantly practice, as the experience of staff using the policy deepens.

Working with Trust colleagues has been vital, for example, the Director of Education provides a breadth of knowledge of working across schools in the Trust and beyond. The experience of being a lead Ofsted inspector facilitates the deep probing of issues (eg sexual harassment) and how the schools are tackling such horrible issues both through proactive education, consequence and redirecting offenders.

Colleagues in other Trust secondary schools (both Associate and teaching) within the pastoral system, provide support on site and through hosting visiting staff. This has facilitated role modelling of practice to new pastoral workers (Pastoral Support Officers), training on specific strategies (EHA’s – Education Healthcare Assessments) and the perspective of academic progress that Heads of Year cannot loose.

Staff are given opportunities to discuss ‘behavioural issues’ during:

  • Department time – scenarios/specific strategies relevant to the adaptations required in subjects are discussed.
  • Staff meeting/briefing – successful strategies are communicated to all staff.
  • Directed time – includes 1 hour per week to meet with students/staff about ‘behaviour issues’.
  • Behaviour Lead – meets with developmental/Year Teams to discuss particular students/issues.
  • A culture which supports staff to actively seek support/accept coaching/mentoring regarding developing new behaviour management skills.
  • Delivery of a behaviour curriculum. Students need to be taught what are our expectations of their behaviour. We cannot afford to assume that they intrinsically know how to conform to ours/societies expectations.

Despite a more pro-social, restorative approach to behaviour, the full range of sanctions are still applied as appropriate. But the impact of this pro-social approach to behaviour management has been noticeable:

  • 50% reduction in removal from lessons for negative behaviours
  • 52% reduction in negative incidents
  • 48% increase in positive referrals

The data above is recorded between November 2022 and November 2023. November 2022 was the first month in which historic data is available as no prior data was collected.

Pastoral Care:

From a position of disunity of the organisation and purpose of the pastoral team, a positive way forward has developed. This has been achieved through investing in staff both individually and in groups (as appropriate).  The creation of new job roles, appointing new staff and developing the team is resulting (from April 2023) in a coherent team of associate and teaching staff:

  • Pastoral Support Officer (PSO) – one allocated per year group with no other formal responsibility other than the care of those students
  • Heads of Year – Have been given greater capacity due to the doubling of their non-contact time dedicated to the role.
  • Attendance officer – a full time post
  • Safeguarding officer – a full time post lead by an Assistant Headteacher as the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
  • Form tutors – this role has been re-emphasised with staff. Specific training has/continues to be delivered on the importance of the form tutor. The quality of the use of this time has been increased by:
    • Providing professional development bespoke to year groups.
    • Weekly activities produced which are bespoke to year groups. This, with required training, is created by a newly appointed TLR holder (Teaching and Learning Responsibility)
  • Tutor activities, events, assemblies, and other relevant activities (e.g. personal development, life skills, careers guidance etc) are brought together in to a curriculum which, like academic curriculums, seeks to go above and beyond the expectations of the National Curriculum.


Using more varied strategies to assess the progress of students is essential in engaging them in their learning and determining their next steps in their learning journey.  We are developing, for example, a method of assessing students’ skills.  For example, this could be with regard to practical skills in Design Technology as a mechanism to deepen the impact of conversations between teachers and students.  This would take place whilst the student is engaged in an assessment activity of a practical skill.


Working with Trust staff has facilitated the rapid development of the site including:

  • Redesigned Food Technology rooms.
  • School kitchen refurbished.
  • Humanities classrooms refurbished.
  • Maths classrooms refurbished.
  • English classrooms refurbishment.
  • Drainage – the site no longer floods.
  • Fencing – the site is now enclosed.
  • Health and safety – footpath/tarmacking.
  • IT infrastructure and equipment, e.g. CCTV

The school has received considerable financial and administrative support from the Trust to instigate/complete these investments of over £300,000 and support by staff from another Trust secondary school. This has facilitated essential activities such as regular reviews of the site to identify remedial works, Health, Safety issues, and required redevelopment of the site.

Parental communication:

Ensuring an effective partnership with parents is imperative for the required success of a young person. The school has amended relationships with some of its parents which additional work to repair and restructure. The actions taken to support family are more consistent. Positive relationship include:

  • Pastoral teams enlarged with a full time pastoral worker ascribed to each year group and additional non-contact time for the Head of Year. This facilitates more time for more/proper communication to take place allowing issues to be resolved before a problem arises. The enlargement was completed in September 2023.
  • Administration team enlarged to provide more capacity for additional communications. The required additional staff were in post from November 2023.
  • Communication from the Headteacher is being increased in its frequency with a focus on the actions and their impact.
  • Parent Panel – will be meeting from January 2024 during which the opinions of parents will be sought on issues such as policies (e.g. RSE), progress reports to parents, and pastoral developments within the school.
  • Drop-in tours of the school are now offered (with a significant uptake by parents) to tour the school during a normal working day, during which there is the opportunity to ask questions of senior staff.

Impact of our work:

  • 80% parents recommend MVC (Year 11 28/11/23) compared to 48% (October 2022).
  • Staffing: one current vacancy compared to four Autumn term 2022.
  • Strong Associate Staff appointments.
  • Pastoral system created/growing in effectiveness.
  • 76% students recommend MVC (Autumn 2023) compared to 30% (October 2022) with 88% students saying they feel safe, which increased from 54% (October 2022).

Trust support:

Support from the Trust and wider family of schools has been essential in moving forward with the developments that are required.  The support noted below is in addition to what the school has previously received, commencing September 2023:

  • Maths lead teacher from the Maths Hub (2 days per week) to support the development of Teaching and Learning/resources.
  • English Director for the Trust - 1 day per week focused upon developing schemes of work and teaching practices.
  • Education Welfare Officer - Doubled the time committed to the school to support students, their families and to train members of the pastoral team.
  • Premises - Increased time to lead on the projects to develop the site with fortnightly monitoring visits to guarantee the value for money of the £300,000+ spent on redeveloping parts of the site.
  • SENDCo - Transfer of an experienced SENDCo from Comberton Village College to Melbourn Village College (with appropriate back filling).
  • English teacher - Moved from St Peter’s School to MVC.
  • Human Resources - Committed 20% of the time of the Trust HR Manager and St Peter’s HR Manager to support the induction/training of the new MVC HR officer.
  • Alternative Provision - Comberton has supported the placing of a student into an Alternative Education pathway.
  • Pastoral team training - Facilitated in part by experienced St Peter’s School staff including the writing of effective Education Health Care Assessments (EHAs).
  • First Aid training - St Peter’s provided a trainer to work with MVC to gain the qualifications needed to ensure the school provided the required first aid cover.
  • Director of learning - Providing specific support to staff whilst gauging the impact of the school’s actions against its targets.  Outcomes are reported to Governors and Trustees.

Disadvantaged students:

The progress of our disadvantaged students (-0.9 2023) is frankly not good enough.  Therefore, a new member of the senior leadership team has been appointed to drive forward improvements to our provision for these identified students by:

  • Publicising adaptive teaching strategies for each disadvantaged student to all staff
  • Highlighting individual students to all staff during briefings regarding particularly effective adaptive teaching strategies for that student
  • Arranging events supporting the deeper engagement of identified students e.g. inclusion with the National Debating Competition
  • Communication with parents the successes/learning needs of students
  • Identification of individual student’s progress needs e.g. likely to achieve 5+ in English but not Maths, overseeing the arrangement of tutoring, intervention strategies, communication with parents/students
  • Using the Teaching and Learning team to check that staff know which students are identified as disadvantaged.

Student participation:

This is essential to increase students’ engagement with the school which should be a welcoming environment for students, being one that they want to attend.  We have to recognise that a student’s school experience is not just about the preparation for external examination.  It is about preparing for adulthood.  Therefore, a school must support the development of the ‘whole child’ in order for them to become the successful adult of the future.

Activities outside of the classroom provide students with the most memorable/impactful moments in a student’s school career.  Ensuring that there is a broad range of suitable events (from short periods of time out of a classroom to overseas residential trips.)

Everybody is somebody