Failing school given boost by top town primary

FELIXSTOWE: A deputy headteacher at one of the resort’s top primaries has been drafted in to help raise standards at a failing school.

Deputy Patricia Washbrook at Fairfield Infant School has dropped teaching duties at her own school and is devoting half her week to improving management and leadership at troubled school Langer Primary, which was put into special measures a month ago after a critical Ofsted report.

One of the key failings identified by inspectors was a lack of leadership and support for Langer headteacher Catherine Bancorp as her usual deputy has been off work on long term sick leave since June this year.

Fairfield headteacher Jane Reed, who initiated the idea, said: “I knew that Langer needed some extra support and I thought about what we could do here, because this is exactly what we are being asked to do.

“The local authority is actively encouraging school-to-school support on many levels, and the schools in Felixstowe all work very closely together anyway.

“Obviously there is a need there and I am sure if the situation was the other way round, Langer would help us out.”

Mrs Washbrook will now divide her week between the two schools, meaning she will no longer spend time in the classroom at Fairfield, despite some complaints from parents.

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Her teaching duties will be taken over by other members of staff who no longer work full time at the school but have volunteered to help cover the class.

The move was welcomed by Langer headteacher Catherine Banthorp, who said: “The arrangement is in place because our deputy is on long term sick leave. Mrs Washbrook is obviously going to strengthen our leadership team at Langer and address the situation we’re in.

“I think it’s a really good example of how closely the schools in Felixstowe work together.

“We are all very busy trying to address our issues and move Langer on to progress as quickly as possible through special measures.”

The new arrangement will continue next term and will be re-assessed at Easter.

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