Inspirational head is key to school success

Abbie Eales, chair of governors at Langstone Infant School.   Picture: Sarah Standing (113110-2914)
Abbie Eales, chair of governors at Langstone Infant School. Picture: Sarah Standing (113110-2914)
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A bad Ofsted inspection can really ruin morale – especially at a school that has so many excellent things going for it.

But the new chair of governors at Langstone Infants in Copnor, Portsmouth – which was this year given a notice to improve – is determined to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Abbie Eales says: ‘The staff have all been through a bit of a bad patch, and understandably they are feeling a bit demoralised.

‘But staff and students at this school are fantastic and the governing body sees no reason why this school can’t be outstanding.

‘What we need now is a headteacher with the right vision and a positive outlook to push things forward.’

The January Ofsted inspection was a major blow to the school. Inspectors acknowledged it provided ‘good’ early years provision and produced average or above average standards in reading and maths – but they felt the most able pupils could do better.

Linda Stallion, headteacher at the time, stood down earlier this year due to health reasons and successful heads from nearby schools pitched in to steady the ship.

Abbie explains: ‘A good headteacher is the key to a school’s success and we are looking for someone who will be a really inspirational leader who will motive everyone and give us a fresh start.

‘We were all surprised by Ofsted’s verdict, which effectively said “you are doing things right but not as well as you could be”, but we’ve already taken on board the criticisms and staff have been working very hard to plan their lessons to ensure no-one is under-performing.’

Langstone Infants is a popular school and this year there was a waiting list.

Abbie says: ‘I genuinely think the school’s good reputation is in part down to its welcoming feel, its lovely playing fields and lots of extra-curricular activities on offer. But we have to get the right headteacher, for the sake of infants whose time with us is vital so they don’t end up playing catch up.’

Anyone interested in applying to be head should visit the city council’s website and go to the ‘jobs for schools’ page on Friday.