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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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New head’s plans to get out of special measures

team work: Janet Simpson with the school’s new teachers, including Alison Vaughan, Claire Hammond, Roger King, Clare Hodgson, Tessa Bishop, Alex Price, Paul Curtis, Maria McCumiskey, and acting head Peter Ireland

WYNDHAM School’s new head aims to pull the ailing Egremont comprehensive out of special measures before the end of the academic year.

Janet Simpson, who is currently deputy head of William Howard School in Brampton, will take over at Wyndham in January.

The school has been without a permanent head since Andy Ward quit in May citing unrelenting pressure brought on by the school’s failed Ofsted.

Inspectors said the school had serious weaknesses in teaching and management when it was put into special measures in March, 2004.

Mrs Simpson, 50, said she was excited by the challenge. “The big attraction for me was when the job was advertised they asked for a teaching and learning fanatic,” she said.

She has worked at William Howard for 25 years and felt ready to take on her first headship as her youngest child has left for university.

When Morton School was in special measures, she spent half her working week for a year helping teachers turn the school around.

She said: “I think one of the problems when a school is in special measures is that you can get focused on the short term.

“Hopefully by the end of the academic year the school will be out of special measures.”

Rules allow schools to spend up to six years in special measures but Education Secretary Ruth Kelly spoke this month of imposing a 12-month deadline or forcing their closure.

Things have already started to change under the temporary charge of Peter Ireland, head of Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton.

For the first time in 35 years, pupils are wearing a uniform. All 900 pupils are wearing blazers and ties.

Ofsted inspectors are becoming more positive and their last report said there had been a “sea change” at the school.

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