Head's vow over failing school

A HEADTEACHER today vowed to lead his failing school out of special measures “as quickly as possible”.Kevin Tomlin, head at Halifax Primary School in Prince of Wales Drive, in Ipswich, said the disappointment and shock he felt when the school fell into special measures in October last year has made him determined to turn round the school's fortunes.

A HEADTEACHER today vowed to lead his failing school out of special measures “as quickly as possible”.

Kevin Tomlin, head at Halifax Primary School in Prince of Wales Drive, in Ipswich, said the disappointment and shock he felt when the school fell into special measures in October last year has made him determined to turn round the school's fortunes.

Today he made a pledge to parents and teachers.

He said: “I have been the headteacher here for nine years and a headteacher for 20 years. I was here when we went into special measures. Professionally and personally I want to be the person who takes us out of special measures.”

Mr Tomlin said he has resolved to restore the school's reputation and provide quality education for the 339 children under his supervision.

“Six years ago when we were blast inspected by the Office for Standards in Education (OSFTED) we were a good school. The school has always had a good reputation in the community,” he added.

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Though three children have been removed from the school as a result of the October inspection, Mr Tomlin said the school has the support of the vast majority of parents.

He said: “We had not expected to be put into special measures but we knew there were areas we needed to improve and we had identified many of the areas for development that the inspectors picked up on. “We were of course very disappointed but the reaction from staff has been one of absolute determination to put things right as soon as possible.”

The school was criticised in a number of areas by inspectors, including leadership and management, quality of teaching and pupil behaviour.

Mr Tomlin said: “A lot has already been done to address the criticisms since we went into special measures. We believe we are making real progress.”

Do you have a child at Halifax Primary School? What do you think about the school's performance? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

OFSTED made a number of criticisms of Halifax Primary School and said the school needs to make improvements in five key areas.

Mr Tomlin said: “The report identified weaknesses in leadership and management, the quality of teaching, standards of achievement and the systems for dealing with challenging behaviour. The following recommendations were made as to what the school should do to improve further.”

Improve the quality of leadership and management through the use of rigorous monitoring and evaluation procedures.

Improve the quality of teaching and learning by ensuring that all lessons are well planned and sufficiently challenging to raise standards.

Make more use of assessment data to monitor pupil progress.

Ensure the curriculum is balanced.

Secure consistency in the management of pupil behaviour.

MR Tomlin said a school action plan has already been written and includes a number of programmes designed to answer Ofsted's criticisms.

He said: “We are working closely with the local education authority to improve the school.

“We have introduced a behaviour monitoring programme, introduced new school rules with a new set of rewards and consequences. It is my job to monitor it is implemented consistently throughout the school.

“We have introduced more frequent lesson observations to improve the quality of teaching.”

“We are monitoring the progress of children through the school so we can pick up any problems at an early stage.”

“We have a revised management structure and new senior leadership team in the school and we will be looking to make further changes in the future.

“At the moment we are carrying out an audit of the curriculum.”

Halifax Primary School was opened by Margaret Thatcher MP in November 1971 when she was secretary of state for education and science.

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