School in special measures getting back on track

Head Kathryn Melling at Leyland Methodist Junior School, with assistant heads Jen Douglas and Paul Farina
Head Kathryn Melling at Leyland Methodist Junior School, with assistant heads Jen Douglas and Paul Farina
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A Leyland headteacher whose primary school has been placed into special measures by Ofsted says things are finally getting back on track.

At the education watchdog’s last monitoring inspection of Leyland Methodist Junior School, concerns were raised over the amount of staff changes and the headteacher’s time being too stretched.

Now though, Kathryn Melling is feeling positive after appointing two new assistant headteachers to replace the previous deputy.

She said: “The deputy left after eight weeks in the job,
and I had to keep borrowing members of staff from other schools.

“So it’s a really important step for us that we’ve been able to appoint two new assistant heads for the long-term.

“We have a lot of improvement works to do at the school, but now I can share the load with two enthusiastic assistant heads, which is just invaluable.”

Jen Douglas and Paul Farina have been designated special projects to help bring the Canberra Road school out of special measures, allowing Mrs Melling the time to focus on dealing with immediate Ofsted issues.

“It means we can plan for the future now,” she said. “I’m hopeful this is a significant step towards the removal of special measures, and I’m hoping it will all be sorted by Christmas.”

In its last report from February, which has just been published, Ofsted said the school is making ‘reasonable progress’ towards the removal of special measures, and said that teaching standards are improving.

However, it did recognise that a number of teachers have been on ‘loan’ to the Leyland school on secondment, for a number of reasons such as illness, resignations, and some teachers reducing their working hours.

It also reiterated that ‘a significant barrier to improvement’ was the fact that Mrs Melling’s time had been taken up dealing with unwanted government calls for the school to become an academy.

She told the Guardian: “Each letter and phone call we got about that just came out of the blue.

“It hasn’t been discussed since February though, which has meant that I haven’t had that distraction for a while now.”