Voyager Academy: Peterborough MP blasts ‘catastrophic GCSEs’ at school

The BBC is reporting that Peterborough’s MP has said a school in the city that had “catastrophically bad” GCSE results should have its academy sponsor removed.

Only 19% of pupils at The Voyager Academy in Walton achieved five A*-C grades including Maths and English, against a national average of 55%. 

MP Stewart Jackson said he will write to the secretary of state asking that Comberton Academy Trust is replaced.

Trust chief executive Stephen Munday said the results were “disappointing”.

But he said his new and experienced leadership team was well-placed to oversee improvements.

The Comberton Academy Trust took over the running of the academy, which is a secondary school and sixth form for more than 1,300 pupils, in 2011, after it originally opened in 2007…

The trust also runs the highly-rated Comberton Village College, Cambourne Village College and Melbourn Village College, but it has not seen the same success at The Voyager, with Ofsted placing it into special measures in February 2014.

In the past few years about 40% of pupils at The Voyager achieved five A*-C grades at GCSE level and this year’s target was 42%, but it achieved just 19%.

Stewart Jackson, Conservative representative, said the results were “catastrophically bad”, adding: “Comberton are good at running rural schools in well-to-do areas, but I don’t think they’ve got the experience and the knowledge and skills to run a more challenging school like Voyager in an urban area in somewhere like Peterborough…”

More at: Voyager Academy: Peterborough MP blasts ‘catastrophic GCSEs’ at school


Does this potentially raise an issue about the suitability of academy  sponsors for different types of schools, or does this school just need  more time to let the new leadership team do its stuff?

Please give us your insights or feedback in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Academies.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove All this proves is that a label or type of school has no bearing on its quality; the people in it, both staff & students, do

  2. Voyager Academy was part of a £100m redevelopment of P’Boro schools planned in 2003.  It was a merger of two schools, Walton Community School and Bretton Woods Community School.  Can’t remember much about the former but the latter had a good reputation and its closure was controversial.  In 1997/8, Chief HMI named Bretton Woods as one of the schools which ‘stand out amongst the many that have improved their quality of education and the standards achieved by
    pupils since the previous inspection’.

    Voyager School opened in 2007 as a foundation school.  It became an academy in 2011.   It was judged RI in 2013 and Inadequate in 2014.

    Chief HMI report 1997/8

  3. andylutwyche nastyoldmrpike brighton118 SchoolsImprove The 2014 cohort was fully comp with slightly more previously high-attainers (23%) than previously low attainers (18%).  (2015 intake not in public domain until Jan 2016)
    Ofsted monitoring in June found the academy wasn’t making enough progress to get out of special measures although earlier monitoring (Sept 2014) indicated it was making ‘reasonable progress’.  The previous head quit in Feb 2014 following Ofsted snap inspection.

  4. Voyager Academy’s predecessor school, Voyager School, was judged Satisfactory with some Good features in November 2008.
    In March 2011, the DfE gave its ‘blessing’ for Voyager to become an academy with Comberton.  Cllr John Holdich (Tory) then council cabinet member for education welcomed the move.  
    This raises the question whether P’Boro council were too hasty to welcome academy conversion painting it as a new dawn.

  5. Working not far from Comberton, we were all a bit jealous of the great results they obtained year-on-year.  
    We thought it was down to the professional/academic families who lived in the catchment.
    Others told us to look and learn from their methods.
    Who was right?

  6. Mike Bell Have a look at Comberton’s intake – the 2014 GCSE cohort had 46% previously high attainers, 46% middle attainers, and just 8% previously low attainers.  The school as a whole has few disadvantaged pupils.
    That said, in Jan 2013 Ofsted judged Comberton to be Outstanding in all four categories.  However, there’s no doubt that pupil achievement played a part in this judgement – achievement which could almost be guaranteed given the intake.

    The Ofsted said outreach by Comberton benefited the academy and those it worked with.  It quoted Voyager’s principal:

    ‘The principal of The Voyager Academy is fulsome in her praise of the support she and her staff
    have received from Comberton and its effectiveness in enabling her school to develop and grow.’

    Ofsted monitoring in April 2015 noted the high exclusion rate of disadvantaged pupils at Comberton and told the academy to take steps to reduce the exclusion rate.

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