Temporary head takes on role full time

Phil Mooney
Phil Mooney
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THE man brought in to help steer a Leyland school out of special measures has quit his job to take over the reins full time.

Phil Mooney has been released early from his post as headteacher at Cardinal Allen School in Fleetwood to become a permanent fixture at St Mary’s Catholic High School.

St Mary's Catholic High School in Leyland

St Mary's Catholic High School in Leyland

The Royal Avenue facility was placed in special measures by Ofsted in October 2014 after a series of staffing problems just as the school was recovering from a devastating fire.

Mr Mooney was brought in as an executive head to help drive up standards, based at the Leyland school part-time.

Successive monitoring reports from the Office for Standards in Education have praised the “strong leadership” and new governance at the school and a letter is being sent to parents today stating that the education watchdog says: “Leaders and managers are taking affective action towards the removal of special measures.”

However, the latest two-day inspection, which Mr Mooney said was the most rigorous yet, said there were still several areas requiring improvement- including some teaching- but said the progress had been good enough to allow the school to recruit up to three newly-qualified teachers.

Mr Mooney said: “We are not there yet.

“We have a long way to go but that this does is give us the chance to build on what we are doing and get it absolutely right.

“I think what is very important about this report is that pupils’ attitudes are seen as very, very positive.

“It is positive about the leadership, governors and managers. From my perspective, some members of the community believed this school was in one big mess but is now on the way to becoming a very, very good school.”

He said giving up his role at Fleetwood, where he had been for more than 10 years, was a “very tough decision.”

Mr Mooney added: “I loved that school and loved that community but I have gained as much here and the children know I value them.

“One of the main pluses for me was the ability and commitment of the children here. They are lovely, lovely children.”