Headteacher praised for halting school’s ‘decline’

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A new headteacher has been praised for halting “a decline” in her school’s performance – but Ofsted said it still needed to improve.

St Margaret’s Primary, in Ifield, underwent a two-day inspection in April and the findings were published on Monday (May 23).

In her report, lead inspector Julie Sackett said of Jill Hine, who joined the school in September: “The headteacher has halted a decline in the school’s performance since her appointment. She has strengthened leadership and restored staff, pupil and parent confidence. The school is well placed to secure the improvements needed to lift pupils’ outcomes.”

Ms Sackett’s report, though, showed there was still work to be done.

She said teaching at St Margaret’s was not “consistently effective”, meaning pupils did not make enough progress in some classes. In addition, some teachers and teaching assistants did not have high enough expectations when it came to the learning and behaviour of the pupils.

While the report, of necessity, rated St Margaret’s ‘requires improvement’, it was clear Ms Sackett recognised Mrs Hine’s leadership was taking the school in the right direction.

She said: “The headteacher has quickly eradicated an element of weak teaching and established a confident, upbeat atmosphere.

“She has clarified staff roles and raised expectations of staff performance.” Governors shared that view and said: “While we recognise the work that still needs to be done, much has been done already – the many positive comments scattered throughout the Ofsted report recognise this. We are confident that Mrs Hine and the staff are doing what is necessary to move the school forward, and are grateful for all their efforts to this end.”

Mrs Hine said she thought Ms Sackett’s report was fair and added: “I would always advise any parent to visit a school rather than judging a school on an Ofsted report.

“I am confident, as were the Ofsted team, that we know exactly what we need to improve and that we are on that journey.”

She added: “I am very proud to be headteacher of such a wonderful school with dedicated, hardworking children, staff, governing body and supportive parents.

“Thank you to everyone at St Margaret’s for making my first two terms here so happy and rewarding.”

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