Headteacher vows to turn round struggling Portsmouth school

BIG PLANS Denise Shepherd, executive principal at City of Portsmouth Girls' School
BIG PLANS Denise Shepherd, executive principal at City of Portsmouth Girls' School

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THE new headteacher of a struggling secondary school which has fallen into special measures has vowed to turn things around.

Denise Shepherd has taken over as executive principal at the City of Portsmouth Girls School, which was deemed inadequate by Ofsted.

The school has announced plans to become an academy through the Thinking Schools Academy Trust. Ms Shepherd has been brought in to improve standards.

Inspectors said students’ achievement has declined and too few pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades including English and maths last year.

Teaching was also said to be inadequate because too few lessons help all students make at least good progress.

Ms Shepherd said: ‘It is not what we would expect for our pupils and we need to take on board the main findings of the report and tackle them immediately.

‘The staff are determined to improve the school with pace and have already responded extremely well to the high expectations we have for delivering the best quality education for every pupil.’

Inspectors did say students are well cared-for, they feel safe and they behave well.

Ofsted said the school needs to increase the amount of teaching that is good and outstanding, and improve leadership.

Staff also need to work with the local authority, parents and carers to help disabled students and those with special educational needs to improve and sustain better attendance at school.

‘We need to improve the quality of teaching and learning,’ said Ms Shepherd.

‘We are already ensuring a consistent approach to planning lessons which engage pupils and ensure they all make good or better progress.

‘Our governing body will be supported by the council, who we are working closely with and they will also be supplying some specialist support in some priority subjects including maths.’

And Ms Shepherd said she remains optimistic that things can change.

‘We are confident of the future success of the school,’ she added.

‘We want to assure all current and prospective parents to have trust and confidence in the new leadership and staff.’