This 1,100-pupil comprehensive on the northern edge of a small cathedral town is, says head of upper school Roy Stubbings, "an urban version of the village college for which Cambridgeshire is famous".
On most days, during school hours or in the evenings, pupils share the building with local people. Outside groups are often closely integrated with college classes. For instance, Year 11 recently put on a drama production, Jarrow, with nearby Highfield special school. Some of the Highfield pupils involved also attend English and maths classes at City of Ely, and the two schools are striving for even more integration, says Mr Stubbings.
The college has an enviable record on extra-curricular activities, with pupils keen to get involved, as the pictures taken n Red Nose Day show. The school this year raised more than pound;2,000 for various charities.
City of Ely is popular, with the first three year groups heavily oversubscribed. To keep pace, work is about to start on a new technology building, and plans are already afoot to create a new sports centre.
Snaps by staff
Not just a pretty face: making clay masks in Year 6 art.
Get a grip: sixth-formers learn self-defence.
Yum, yum: sixth form pupils in a jelly-eating contest on Red Nose Day.
Take that: Getting drenched at the Easter Fair.
Give it some stick: Year 7 games.
Stir it up: a sticky moment during a Year 9 cookery lesson.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's more Red Nose Day fun.
On the march: Year 11's production of Jarrow, with pupils from nearby Highfield special school.