By Ian Dipple Friday 13 September 2013 Updated: 13/09 10:39
A SCHOOL plunged into special measures following a damning Ofsted report is rising from the ashes with a new identity.
Harry Taylor First School was converted into Crabbs Cross Academy at the start of September as part of measures to drive up standards. It followed an Ofsted inspection in November 2012 which branded it failing in all areas, with children’s progress below expected levels, particularly in writing.
Since then significant changes have taken place including the introduction of a new head of school Rachel Roberts, who was appointed on a temporary basis in January but has now been given the role permanently and will oversee the day to day running.
She will be guided by executive headteacher Sue Foster-Agg, also in charge of nearby The Vaynor First School, who was brought in to begin the turnaround of the Evesham Road school following the departure of the previous headteacher last year. She will control the strategic direction.
Measures introduced include the introduction of six new teaching staff for the start of this term, a new behavioural policy so children are willing and ready to learn, new reading schemes and a new system for teaching calculation to better prepare pupils for middle school.
Communication with parents has been improved while money has also been spent on refurbishment, including the creation of a library.
Internal test results already show a big leap in standards, a fact recognised in a recent check-up inspection by Ofsted which noted writing standards, although still below national levels, were accelerating. Teaching was rated good in Reception and Years 1 and 2 with pockets of outstanding teaching in Years 3 and 4.
Mrs Roberts told the Standard: “The inspector recognised we are on that road to improvement.
“You can’t run before you can walk it has to be done in little steps but we are making quite big steps in some areas.”
Although it could be over 12 months before the school is officially out of special measures the new leadership team is determined to drive standards even higher.
“We are going to be the flagship school for this area, that’s the aim,” Mrs Roberts added.
Mrs Foster-Agg said she was optimistic about the school’s future while acknowledging there was still work to be done.
“No school in the country is going to be all good or all bad, no matter how outstanding you are, there’s always something to work on.”
The new name is based on the school’s roots as it opened in 1877 as Crabbs Cross School.
“It places it in the community, this is a community school and we serve the community and that’s the way it should be,” Mrs Foster-Agg added.
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