Thursday, 05 August 2021

Head stays on after school improves

Head stays on after school improves

THE interim headteacher drafted in to help save Chiltern Edge School is to stay on.

Moira Green started in June after the school was rated inadequate by Ofsted and placed in special measures.

Now she has accepted the job permanently after Oxfordshire County Council, the education authority, lifted its threat of closure over the school following immediate improvements.

Miss Green said she wanted to remain in charge of the Reades Lane school at least until it has achieved a “good” rating from the education watchdog.

She said: “The school is an important part of the community and we have reached the point where it is staying open but that is only the start. We are working to get the school back to good and making sure the foundations are in place for it to stay good. I have become very fond of the place and want to see the job through.”

Miss Green’s appointment comes after a monitoring report by Ofsted said the school was on the right track to be moved out of special measures.

Inspector Matthew Newberry, who visited Chiltern Edge on November 21 and 22, said the school’s leaders and managers were taking effective action and the improvement plan was fit for purpose.

He revealead that 20 teachers and 26 support staff had left the school since the previous inspection. Mr Newberry said: “Teachers are now aware of the need to ‘raise their game’ and of how all staff will be supported by leaders and external consultants to improve.

“Many teachers and support staff have left. Those that remain, and the new staff, are keen to improve their practice; they feel valued and are well supported to do so. Staff morale is much higher.

“Staff, governors and pupils are proud of their school and recognise that significant changes have been made and that it is improving.”

Mr Newberry praised Miss Green’s changes, saying: “Teachers are getting the support they need to make improvements.

“Senior leaders have started a regular programme of monitoring teaching with a clearer focus on pupils’ progress. Senior leaders have an accurate view of the strengths and weaknesses in teaching, learning and assessment. They are turning their attention to supporting middle leaders to gain the same clarity.

“New tracking systems have begun in key stages 3 and 4 to assess pupils’ attainment and monitor the progress they make against ambitious targets.”

Mr Newberry also recognised the progress made by older students.

He said: “Staff are working hard to put the interim headteacher’s new principles for effective teaching into practice. Teachers are trying to challenge pupils more purposefully, including the most able.

“Where this is working well pupils respond positively and demonstrate better progress.

“This is very apparent in the progress year 11 pupils are making in Saturday school classes in English and mathematics. In some key stage 4 mathematics groups, where teachers have higher expectations, then pupils’ reasoning skills are promoted well.”

Miss Green, a former head of music at Langtree School in Woodcote, said: “The report is really positive. It says we are improving and we are taking effective action. It recognises we know what we are doing and we have an effective plan as we move forward.

“It’s nice to have something positive about the school in the public domain because the last report was not very positive at all.

“The report reflects a positive outlook for the school and recognises the changes that have been made to date and the ongoing developments are the right things to do to return Chiltern Edge to a ‘good’ rating. I am particularly pleased that the report more accurately reflects the school, the pride that staff and students feel and the desire to work hard to be our best selves.”

The school will have another monitoring inspection next year. External reviews on governance and the school’s use of the pupil premium will also be undertaken.

Miss Green, who lives in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, said she hoped the school would reach an agreement to become part of the Maiden Erlegh Trust, a multi-academy trust based in Wokingham, next year. This would need to be signed off by the regional schools commissioner.

Miss Green was previously assistant deputy head at a 1,700-pupil school in Peterborough and then headteacher at a London school for two years before becoming a consultant.

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