New headteacher promises to drive up standards

IN TUNE St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School music manager Patricia Gilbert with, from left, Jessica Collins 10, Emma Farrugia 10, Louis Bartolo 10, Siobhan Carroll, nine, Ellie Benham, nine.    Picture: Paul Jacobs (110483-1)
IN TUNE St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School music manager Patricia Gilbert with, from left, Jessica Collins 10, Emma Farrugia 10, Louis Bartolo 10, Siobhan Carroll, nine, Ellie Benham, nine. Picture: Paul Jacobs (110483-1)
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A HEADTEACHER has vowed to turn around a school after it was rated ‘satisfactory’ by Ofsted.

Colin Flanagan, who took over at St Thomas More’s Catholic Primary School in Bedhampton last month, is a man on a mission to help drive up standards.

The former deputy head of ‘outstanding’ St John’s Catholic Primary in Portsmouth, admitted he couldn’t resist the allure of a school ‘that shared so many of the things I love and admire’.

Mr Flanagan said: ‘When I first walked into this school I was overwhelmed with the ethos and the atmosphere of learning, and the children were so well behaved.

‘But, as the Ofsted report pointed out, there is work to do on raising standards in teaching and in writing, especially for our boys.

‘Teachers are currently undergoing good quality training and we’re building up writing projects to make the skill more attractive and fun, and to encourage independent learning.

‘We are also using our support staff to give additional intervention to years five and six, where progress has been slipping behind.

‘For me the focus is having high expectations and challenging pupils and staff.’

Mr Flanagan, who took over from former head Denise Willis who is now retired, says he wants to see every child reaching their full potential in three years.

‘We want teachers to have a passion for learning, and a good understanding of the needs of every child in the school,’ he added.

‘The pressure is on but I have a terrific team with extremely supportive parents and bright children.

‘A lot of progress has already been made, and I believe we should see significant improvements in Key Stage Two results this year.

‘Across the school most children will be catching up to where they ought to be within three years.’

Ofsted praised St Thomas’ non-academic activities including music and sport, which Mr Flanagan said he hoped to grow.

Early years teaching was also given a ‘good’ overall rating.

He said: ‘We also want to give extra support to our gifted and talented children, with workshops, extra classes and even projects with secondary schools and universities to inspire them.

‘This school has so much going for it, and I am very excited to be a part of its future.’