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Turnaround school proves class act

A RURAL school which failed its inspection has improved so much in six months it could be taken off special measures early.

A RURAL school which failed its inspection has improved so much in six months it could be taken off special measures early.

Brereton CE Primary School is one of only four schools in Cheshire to have flunked the inspection by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) over the past 12 months.

It was put on special measures to monitor its progress after Ofsted inspectors revealed its weaknesses outweighed its strengths and concluded it 'provided unsatisfactory value for money'.

The inspectors found standards were not high enough in English, maths, science and other subjects; teaching had many weaknesses; and the curriculum was not broad or balanced enough. Attendance levels were also below the national average.

Long serving headteacher Steve Whittaker left in December, the month before the inspection which led to the critical report.

Inspectors who visited the school this month, however, have noted such a turnaround they anticipate it could be off special measures earlier than next year's August target date.

'Much has been achieved since the school became subject to special measures: good progress has been made and staff are optimistic that the new year will bring further significant improvements,' said their new report.

Brereton Primary School's new headteacher Linda Gretton with pupil Thomas Lyons

New headteacher Linda Gretton, who took up the post in April, said: 'I tell the parents who are considering sending their children to the school to look at the report on the Ofsted website. It makes awful reading and it makes us feel uncomfortable.

'But that was the school over four days in January and this is how the school is now. It's important for parents to see that and to be able to make the comparison.

'Some people think of special measures as meaning a school is failing but actually it isn't.

'A failing school is closed and this school has never been considered for closure.'

In fact, she believes, special measures status has had a positive effect on the school.

'There's a tremendous team spirit here and that's partly because of the way we're working together now ­ all of us,' she said.

'This month's report by HM inspectors has left us all feeling we're on a roll here and we're ready to come back in September and work really hard.'

A Cheshire County Council spokesman said: 'If a school is put on special measures it has to have an action plan to address what has gone wrong.

Brereton is no exception. An action plan has been prepared and it seems to be working.'

Any school which is put on special measures receives extra support and guidance from the authority.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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