Headteacher vows to reach for the stars as Waterlooville school makes progress

PLEASED Children at Stakes Hill Infants School celebrate the school's Ofsted with headteacher Susan Aspland.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (114288-1)

PLEASED Children at Stakes Hill Infants School celebrate the school's Ofsted with headteacher Susan Aspland. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (114288-1)

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THE new head of a Waterlooville school that’s been lifted out of the lowest Ofsted ranking has vowed to take it to the next level in a year and then aim for outstanding.

Sue Aspland, who joined Stakes Hill Infants in September when it was in notice to improve, is celebrating being marked as satisfactory with a good capacity to improve.

Inspectors were impressed with the school’s ambitious targets and improved teaching, which led to pupils’ higher attainment and a broadly average level in reading, writing and maths when they leave.

They also praised high attendance, above national average standards for pupils with special educational needs who comprise a third of the school population, and excellent work to boost reading abilities.

Mrs Aspland, who was previously based in London as a national advisor supporting heads to improve English and early years teaching, said: ‘The school is in a very good position and we’re aiming for the best. I’m ambitious and I have a strong leadership team and teachers who share a vision of excellence for our children.

‘We know our strengths and we know what we need to improve.

‘I’d certainly expect to get a good Ofsted by January 2013 and after that we’re aiming for outstanding.

‘The school is on a journey of fast improvement. Buckle your seats and enjoy the flight.’

The secret to this school’s early success, says Mrs Aspland, is involving parents at every stage and using expertise from the local authority and neighbouring schools to share best practice.

Attendance levels have gone from low to a 96 per cent above-average rate after the school put in place a range of rewards including family days out and prize money.

Reading has been a major focus. Recently the school made a substantial investment in new books for children to take home for one-to-one work with their mums and dads and early morning reading sessions with parents will start in January.

Mrs Aspland said: ‘This is about raising expectations for all children. I chose to come to this school because I believe I have the right skill set and it’s a real challenge.

‘The priority has to be engaging the children and meeting the needs of every single pupil.’

Mrs Aspland’s predecessor Ann Wrightson retired in July 2011.

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