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Head's pledge at Swanmead - we will do better!
10:00am Wednesday 17th October 2012 in News
THE head teacher of Swanmead Com-munity School does not want to become a “one-year wonder” in his bid to further improve the Ilminster school.
Mark Walker is in the early stages of his second full year in charge at Swanmead, having taken over in September, 2011.
Twelve months after he arrived at Swanmead, OFSTED inspectors visited the school with new and tougher guidelines.
A previous OFSTED visit came in February, 2011, when Sheila Bowker was as acting head, and judged the school ‘satisfactory’, and had the same benchmarks been applied this time around Swanmead would have been bordering on a ‘good’ accreditation.
But with expectations having been raised by OFSTED the inspectors ruled that Swanmead was ‘requiring improvement’, which Mr Wal-ker admitted did not look good on paper.
“Under the old guidelines we’d now be virtually rated as ‘good’ and I’ll be going all out to make sure we’re given that grade at the next inspection,” he said.
“You can take it as a bit of a kick in the teeth after all the hard work we’ve put in, or put the bit between your teeth and move forward – I’m going to do the latter.
“We’ve made big improvements over the past year, but there’s always room for improvement and that’s what I’ll strive to do.
“I don’t want to be known as a one-year wonder.”
The inspection team was impressed and encouraged by Swanmead, and highlighted many strengths in its report, and were complimentary about the “positive direction” the school was heading in after recent improvements.
The report indicated key areas which needed improving, such as pushing pupils harder in classes and improving the progress of youngsters.
Mr Walker said: “If anything we’re guilty of being a bit too over-protective of our children.
“Now is, perhaps, a good time to have even higher expectations of them, and through this encourage more independence and challenge in their learning.”
He said the children “love coming to Swan-mead and their attitudes to learning are superb”, which he admitted was a key tick in the box to improve the school further.