Leyland school battles to get out of the doldrums

Philip Mooney has taken over as executive headteacher at St Mary's
Philip Mooney has taken over as executive headteacher at St Mary's
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A troubled school is making ‘reasonable progress’ towards climbing out of special measures.

Leyland St Mary’s Catholic High School was visited by inspectors from Government Watchdog Ofsted after the leadership and management, quality of teaching, and achievement of pupils were declared ‘inadequate’ in October.

The latest inspection found that the school’s improvement plan was fit for purpose, and said that the “senior leadership team demonstrates potential”.

A letter to headteacher Kathy McNicholas said: “Senior leaders are resolute in moving the school out of special measures.

“They are eager to improve their own practice by accessing both coaching and training opportunities.”

It added: “The new governing body has a diverse and appropriate skills set which will enable its members to challenge and hold leaders to account with regard to future performance.

“The headteacher has worked hard to develop positive relationships with a range of outside support agencies to move the school forward.

“An executive headteacher brings a wealth of experience and has quickly understood the improvement needs of the school.”

But lead inspector Anne Pontifex raised some concerns and said: “Work has started to improve the profile of teaching and learning, but the performance across the school remains mixed and much work needs to be done to create a ‘buzz’ about learning across the school.”

The Royal Avenue school was ravaged by fire in September 2013 and was also the subject of disruption caused by a staff dispute.

Re-building is currently underway but some pupils are housed in temporary accommodation.

A new executive headteacher, Philip Mooney was recently appointed.

He said: “The Ofsted monitoring report is encouraging although governors, members of the senior team and staff are under no illusions about the hard work that lies ahead.”