Ely College

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Ely College
Ely College wiki-image.jpg
Ely College students, 2011
Type Academy, Secondary & Sixth Form College
Principal Richard Spencer
Location Downham Road
Coordinates: 52°24′26″N 0°15′28″E / 52.4071°N 0.2577°E / 52.4071; 0.2577
DfE URN 110883 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students around 1250
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Website www.elycollege.com

Ely College is a secondary academy school located in Ely, Cambridgeshire.[1][2]


In 1957 Ely High School for Girls moved out of the centre of Ely to an extensive site on Downham Road. St Audrey's Infant School was built nearby on the site around the same time. In 1969 a donation from the Catherine Needham Foundation, a local charitable trust set up in memory of Lady Catherine Needham, enabled the establishment of the Needham's County Secondary School adjacent to the High School. In September 1972 Ely High School, Soham Grammar School and Needham's Secondary Modern Schools merged to become the City of Ely College as part of the change to comprehensive education in Ely. The College was located in the former Needham's building and a VIth Form College was established in the old Girls' High School building. Subsequently, they became the City of Ely Community College. In 2011 the school was renamed Ely College.[3]

In September 2010, the College's governors adopted Foundation status, and in 2011, they applied to the Secretary of State to change to Academy status,[2][4] proposing to join the CfBT Schools Trust, an Academies Trust formed by CfBT, one of the UK's leading educational charities. Ely College joined the Trust in January 2012, but then joined the CMAT group of schools in September 2016 instead.[5]

Bishop Laney[edit]

Bishop Laney, formerly Ely College Sixth Form, is a Sixth Form in Ely, sharing some of the property with Ely College. Also one of the CMAT schools as well as part of the Staploe Education Trust, it is an ongoing partnership between Ely College and Soham Village College.

Zero Tolerance Controversy[edit]

In April 2011 the Daily Express dubbed Ely College "Britain's strictest school".[6] In a newsletter to parents that month, Headteacher Catherine Jenkinson-Dix had issued a warning about the introduction of a zero-tolerance policy for the school, rigidly enforcing existing policies on school uniforms and discipline, plus restricting the use of mobile phones and iPods. Defending the action, she stated: "This is fundamental in preparing them for their future careers, where they certainly would not get away with being rude, dressing inappropriately and chewing gum."[7]

The school came under scrutiny in the national press when the Daily Mail claimed teachers had handed out a total of 717 detentions over a period of four days.[8] The Daily Mirror reported that on one day, one-fifth of the schools pupils were put in detention for "a crackdown on school behaviour".[7] Some parents claimed in the national press that they would be removing their children from the school,[8] but others were supportive[6] and by the following month Catherine Jenkinson-Dix was claiming the policy to have been a success, saying that it had enabled teachers to spend more time teaching as they are dealing with fewer distractions in the classroom.[9]

Ofsted reports[edit]

In 2013, Ofsted rated Ely College as 'Good'.[10]

In 2015, Ofsted rated Ely College as 'Inadequate' and requiring special measures. This can be backed up by former students of the college.[11]


External links[edit]