Back to basics for Portsmouth school

From left, Paul Stanley, Jo Crisp, George Heasman, Mercedes Bevan, Luke Galea and Bethany Bevan from Highbury College

Chefs of the future help out the homeless

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SMALL steps are leading to massive changes – says the new head of a school that has just been rated satisfactory by Ofsted.

David Jeapes, appointed head of Mayfield School in North End in September, has a secret weapon he believes will see the school achieving a good rating at its next inspection.

His so-called Mayfield Teaching Method is revolutionising teaching and behaviour at the school by taking everything back to basics and building up a culture of respect and enthusiasm for learning.

Simply put, it involves saying good mornings and afternoons, picking up litter in corridors, bearing the consequences of bad behaviour – and in the classroom, a break half way through and at the end of each lesson for students to give feedback on what they have learnt.

Mr Jeapes said: ‘The system was only in place two weeks before Ofsted visited but even then they recognised it’s working.

‘It tackles behaviour and the quality of teaching, which are the two areas we need to improve.

‘It is still fresh but it works – it creates a consistency across teaching and standards, and we all build up from there.

‘Every lesson starts out with laying out the criteria for success – and every lesson ends with “what have you learnt today?”.

‘Small steps are leading to a massive change to the culture at this school. The students love it and I know we will move rapidly from satisfactory to good.’

Ofsted said much of the teaching was not challenging pupils to think for themselves but praised Mr Jeapes’ vision and highlighted the falling number of absent students.

Mr Jeapes added the students’ renewed sense of pride in the school was boosted by their new uniform, a scholarship scheme for two school-leavers in each year to win a place at Portsmouth Grammar School and assemblies taken by strong role models in the community to raise aspiration.