Head makes it her mission to improve Portsmouth school

PLEDGE Alison Beane has plans to improve Cliffdale Primary. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (122978-5)
PLEDGE Alison Beane has plans to improve Cliffdale Primary. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (122978-5)
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THE executive headteacher of a school that has been placed in special measures has set out her plans to turn it around.

Cliffdale Primary School in North End was rated inadequate at an Ofsted inspection in the summer and was then placed in special measures.

The school is for children with moderate learning difficulties.

The inspectors’ report said the quality of the teaching was inadequate and that pupils were not making enough progress in certain subjects.

Pupils’ behaviour is also inadequate and lessons can be disrupted by children, the report said. Alison Beane, who took over as executive head in March, said a lot of the work the inspector recommended had already been undertaken, but that it was too early to notice any improvement.

‘What the report doesn’t show is the very positive culture we have here with a staff team that are really keen on wanting to move the school forward,’ she said.

‘The children are happy, they just aren’t making the progress as quickly as they should be.

‘I thought the inspection team were very good. All the way through we worked together.’

The curriculum has been improved in a bid to get children interested in subjects and to promote their spiritual, social, moral and cultural development more effectively.

Teachers have had further training to improve the work that they do.

The training aims to ensure all teachers have high expectations and demand more of pupils and also encourage them to work more independently.

Mrs Beane added: ‘I feel very positive because people want to change. I haven’t got those barriers to break through in terms of people accepting that change is needed.

‘I’m not unaware of the fact that we are asking people to make significant changes to the way that they teach. It will be easier for some than for others.

‘I could tell as soon as I came in that staff definitely needed training and support to improve their teaching.

‘I have come in and made it very clear to the staff that they have to up their game. I have committed to eradicate any inadequate teaching by the end of October. These children deserve the best and that’s what we are striving for.

‘They can’t have anything other than that, especially with children with special needs. It’s not good enough.’