‘We will improve standards’ - new headteacher of Ormiston Endeavour Academy talks about the challenges ahead
- Credit: Archant
Results will improve at an Ipswich school “without a shadow of a doubt” – that’s the promise to parents and pupils of Ormiston Endeavour Academy.
Christine Woods has spoken for the first time of the “incredible” scrutiny she is under as new principal of the former Thurleston High School.
She said the first six weeks in the job had been the “best” of her life as she enjoys the “exciting” challenge of raising standards.
The school was placed in special measures in April a day after she took over following an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report.
And in her first headteacher position, the 44-year-old vowed to take the academy out of special measures by next year.
After a tour of classrooms, she said: “They are not classes that I would expect to see from a school that is in special measures, they are purposeful, they are calm, they are working. And I do not believe we will be in special measures very long. I think next year we will be out of special measures.”
She was appointed through the government’s Talented Leader drive to turn around under pressure schools. As part of the deal Mrs Woods is tied to the school for at least three years and has £50,000 to spend to improve results.
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Asked whether she was suffering sleepless nights because of the pressure, she said: “I do not think there would be any headteacher in the whole country who would say that they don’t wake up going, ‘oh what about this, what about that’, because you can’t do this job unless you’re passionate to get it perfect.
“So as a result you constantly have things go round and round in your head but as long as you’ve got a clear vision and view about what exactly you want to see in the classroom then you are sorted, you absolutely are.”
She joins the school after leaving Hobart High School in Norfolk where she was deputy headteacher. That school is judged by Ofsted as ‘good’.
Before then she had seven years with Norfolk County Council where she was parachuted into struggling schools to improve them.
During her time at Ormiston Victory Academy and Wymondham High School, both in Norfolk, the schools achieved their “best” results, she said.
Speaking about the ‘inadequate’ rating and last year’s GCSE results, she said: “The results do play a part in what Ofsted thinks about us, they play a big part in what the community thinks about the school, so therefore it’s only right that we get for our students equivalent to what other students are getting in other schools.
“There’s no reason why the children in this area cannot get the same results. They are a great bunch of students, wonderful personalities.”
Last year 45% of students got five A*-C GCSE grades, including in English and maths. This year the school is aiming to equal the national average of 55%.
The school is due an imminent mini Ofsted inspection in the next few days – the first of five in the next two years.