Southsea headteacher determined to turn school’s performance around

STAYING POSITIVE Headteacher Carina Jacobs with pupils, from left, Hannah Sirokh, Eloise Hoxha, Ellie Pearce, and Georgina Burr.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (120983-1)
STAYING POSITIVE Headteacher Carina Jacobs with pupils, from left, Hannah Sirokh, Eloise Hoxha, Ellie Pearce, and Georgina Burr. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (120983-1)

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A TOUGHER schools inspection introduced this year has seen a second previously good primary in The News’ area plummet to the worst category.

Wimborne Juniors in Southsea, which was rated ‘good with outstanding features’ in 2008, has now been placed in special measures by Ofsted inspectors.

This news comes just weeks after Front Lawn Infants in Leigh Park was also condemned for ‘failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education’.

But Wimborne head Carina Jacobs, who has overseen a major revamp of teaching and assessment standards since her appointment in September 2010, says her school will be ‘good or better’ within two years.

Despite giving pupils’ achievement, teaching and leadership ‘inadequate’ ratings, inspectors applauded high attendance, better lesson planning and ‘appropriate plans to address widespread underachievement’ that had built up over time.

In 2008, two out of five pupils were leaving school without the expected standards in English and maths.

Last year, that figure had improved by just one per cent. Mrs Jacobs said: ‘The Ofsted isn’t a reflection of where we are now – it is a picture of where we were a year ago.

‘When I took on the job of headteacher there was a downward trend, but that has stopped and now we need time to see that lift.

‘I’ve put in place a two-year improvement vision for the school and I believe we will be good or better by the end of it. I’ve got high expectations of our children.

‘I believe they are capable of achieving the best.’

Maths has been a major focus over the past year.

The decision to split the lower ability groups according to sexes to suit the different ways of learning is one new strategy that is already paying dividends, according to Mrs Jacobs who says 91 per cent of Year 5 pupils are on track to make expected levels of progress.

Earlier one-to-one intervention, teacher training and pupil assessment at the start and end of each topic to ensure lessons are pitched at the right level, are a few of the measures that have been put in place to accelerate improvement in numeracy and literacy.

Mrs Jacobs said: ‘We are going in the right direction.

‘Since last year, we’ve moved from high levels of inadequate teaching to high levels of satisfactory and some good teaching.

‘We’ve got a good team here. This has brought us closer together. We’re using each other’s strengths to drive the school forward. We are all determined to turn the school around.

‘The children only have one chance and we need to get it right for them.’

Portsmouth now has four primary schools in special measures.