Head teacher’s vow to change failing school’s fortune

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The head teacher of a Hipperholme school that was placed in special measures by Ofsted has vowed to turn things around.

Helen Morgan is at the helm of Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School and is working hard with staff, parents and the wider community to make improvements at the school on Stoney Lane.

Following the inspection by Ofsted in May, the school was found to be failing in all areas.

However, the first positive steps have been taken in transforming the school.
“The staff are really determined, committed and care about doing the best for our pupils,” she said.

“A lot of parents have come in to support us and ask how they can become more involved with the school. We are getting parents in school to see things and changes we are making because we are proud of what we are doing and we want to do a good job.

“It has galvanised the whole community to get behind our school.

“We are going to be one of the schools to improve the most and to do it quickly so for me it is a really exciting place to be.

“Nobody here wants to see the school in special measures and we are proactive in bringing the school out of it.”

The school, which converted to an academy three years ago, was buoyed by this summer’s GSCE results with a 58 per cent success rate of five A* to C grades, including English and maths - a two per cent improvement on last year at a time when many schools experienced a slump.

In English, 71 per cent of students achieved A*-C in English and 68 per cent of students achieved A*-C in maths.

The staff have also been inspired by athlete Derek Redmond, who came into the school to give a motivational talk.

The 400m Great Britain runner became one of the iconic images of the Olympics when in the Barcelona games in 1992 he tore his hamstring in the final.

However, he was determined to finish the race and was helped to the finish line by his father who made his way through the crowd.

“It was a really moving and inspirational talk and many of the staff members were in tears.

“He talked about how he thought he could still catch the runners when he fell to the ground and that’s why he got up back up again.

“It’s that determination and attitude we are applying here at the school that we have been knocked back but we will get back up and carry on.”

The school is now working with the Department for Education to find a suitable sponsor school to help guide the academy, and a decision is expected in the coming weeks, as is the result of the Ofsted monitoring inspection.