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Burnley school from special measures to good in a year

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A proud Burnley headteacher is brimming with praise after her school has gone from special measures to a good rated school in just 12 months.

Claire Holgate hailed the huge efforts of teachers and pupils in turning around the fortunes of Lowerhouse Junior School in little over a year.

Ofsted had slammed the school as inadequate in a report in 2013 which slated weak teaching and poor pupil attainment.

But school leaders, who fought off an attempt by the Government to turn it into an academy, have worked to transform it from a failing primary into one graded good by Ofsted since last year.

The glowing report praised the school’s strong leadership, the teamwork of staff and consistent quality of teaching which inspectors said made pupils keen and From special measures to good in a year attentive learners.

It is now a beacon school being held up as an example of good practice to other headteachers across Lancashire.

Mrs Holgate (37) who only became Lowerhouse headteacher last May, said the report had left staff and pupils on a high.

She said: “Everyone is absolutely elated. It has been a tough journey but the school has gone from strength to strength.

“This is a remarkable achievement for many reasons, but predominantly because we have improved from ‘special measures’ to ‘good’ in a year.

“We have accomplished the rare achievement of moving two levels up the Ofsted grading ladder in an incredibly short space of time.”

The report said in her first year in post, the headteacher has inspired and energised staff to be committed to school improvement.

Inspectors found all pupils make good progress thanks to consistently good teaching and the vibrant curriculum has captured pupils’ interest and promotes their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development effectively.

Leaders and governors are said to have a very clear understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for improvement and decisive action has been taken to tackle weaknesses and develop teachers’ skills.

The report found good practice was being built on and all aspects of the school’s work is systematically checked as a basis for more improvement.

Mrs Holgate said a damning article in the Burnley Express about the 2013 report was used as a motivation to spark change at the school.

She said: “I promised them that we would make the headlines of the Express again – but next time for all the right reasons.

“It provided a sense of focus and determination for the staff to work together tirelessly to improve the school and prove to the local community what we were capable of.

“We are now going for ‘outstanding’. The inspectors said we are on the way to becoming outstanding and we strongly feel that is now our aim.

“We are really looking forward to the challenge.”

 

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