School’s taking steps in the right direction

Havant Academy head teacher Helen Cassady
Havant Academy head teacher Helen Cassady
Nicola Nixon led the protest outside Purbrook Park School Picture: Habibur Rahman (171257-382)

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OFSTED inspectors have heaped praise on a Havant school which is making improvements after it was placed in special measures.

Havant Academy was deemed inadequate at an inspection in July.

But last month, inspectors returned and praised staff there for changes that have been made.

Headteacher Helen Cassady only joined the school in September but has since been working hard to turn things around.

She said: ‘We are all feeling very positive at Havant in terms of the improvements that the inspector recognised.

‘The staff are very positive about the outcome of the visit.

‘What we were most pleased with is how they recognised just how much we have done in a short period of time.

‘We have put in new procedures regarding standards, expectations and behaviour.’

The report said that colleagues have approached the task of improving the school with commitment and enthusiasm.

It said that there is a good balance between regular visits to lessons to check on quality, and support and training for teachers to help them to improve.

Inspectors also noticed that the management of students’ behaviour and attendance has improved significantly.

Mrs Cassady said the school is focusing on raising expectations.

‘Lots of our assemblies focus on raising aspiration and looking at people in the community and further afield in terms of success stories.

‘It’s getting them to realise that your background is not a barrier to your success.’

Mrs Cassady added she is optimistic that the school will be lifted out of special measures.

‘We are very positive about the direction that we are going in,’ she said.

‘We do work around the whole notion of “Team Havant”.

‘The staff, students and parents have been superb in terms of pulling together and thinking about the improvement work at Havant.

‘One of the reasons I came to Havant was because I could see the potential that the academy has.’

Havant Academy opened in September 2010, after Staunton Community Sports College closed in the previous summer.