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Interim head vows to help battling school to improve
THE teacher leading Oxford’s newest academy has promised consistency despite a number of changes at the school.
A raft of issues relating to quality of teaching and inconsistencies in marking and feedback resulted in Berinsfield Primary School being placed in special measures in May 2012.
So-called superhead Martin Lester was brought in to turn the school’s fortunes around, and after a year in post it has reopened as an academy, sponsored by educational trust CfBT, with a new name (Abbey Woods Academy) and new interim headteacher.
Kelly Dillon, who will remain at the Wimblestraw Road school until a permanent headteacher is recruited, said: “It is about making sure there is consistency in teaching and learning policy, including a good feedback policy and making sure everyone is using the same feedback systems. “We are looking at refining our targeting and making children aware of their targets and involving children in target-setting.”
She said a new enrichment programme with activities such as cooking and gardening was also being introduced, with all children required to take part in activities once a week.
The school’s new start comes at the same time as the results of an Ofsted monitoring visit in the school’s last term as Berinsfield are made public for the first time.
Because the school converted to academy status, it effectively had the slate wiped clean, but Miss Dillon said she was working on the assumption inspectors would visit between January and March.
In her report, Ofsted inspector Linda McGill – who said the school was making reasonable progress toward the removal of special measures – noted an “encouraging picture” across the school.
She highlighted better progress and rising attainment, while improvements in teaching had been maintained. Attendance had also improved.
But Ms MGill raised concerns that changes in staff at the top level, with two members of the senior leadership team including Mr Lester leaving at the end of last term, could hamper improvement.
She said: “These members of staff have been a substantial driving force behind the school’s improvements.”
But she felt everyone at the school was clear what needed to be done: “The staff have had a lot of change to deal with but I think they are resilient.
“What’s really important for me is making sure the governing body are absolutely solid, so in a sense it doesn’t matter who is in charge.”
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