Leader of Sheffield school in special measures aims for 'outstanding' rating in turnaround

Pupils at Westfield School
Pupils at Westfield School
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A school placed in 'special measures' has 'the recipe to be amazing', its new leader claimed today.

Ofsted today placed Westfield School in special measures, just over two weeks since head teacher Andy Ireland quit.

Pupils at Westfield School

Pupils at Westfield School

Inspectors judged the overall effectiveness of the school as 'inadequate', with the leadership team found to have 'failed to improve the school sufficiently since the last inspection'.

They concluded that the school is 'failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education'.

But today, the new leader brought in to oversee the running of the school described it as being on the 'cusp of greatness' and urged parents to have 'faith' in it.

Interim head Roisin Paul, who also runs Silverdale School in Bents Green, which is in the top 20 state schools in the country and has a waiting list of families desperate for places for their children, said progress has been made at Westfield over recent years, just not at the speed Ofsted wanted.

Pupils at Westfield School

Pupils at Westfield School

She said extra revision lessons, including sessions over Easter, have been offered to students due to take their GCSEs next month and she hopes they will sit their exams 'well prepared, calm and confident'.

Student monitoring at the school this year suggests that GCSE results this summer should be an improvement on last year's.

Westfield School is in consultation over plans to become an academy as part of the Silverdale Multi-Academy Trust, which Mrs Paul said would bring advantages, with schools able to share expertise and drive up standards.

"The Trust involves a number of schools joining together and taking the best of these, growing that and sharing it across the organisation," said Ms Paul.

"There is brilliance in every single school, and I genuinely believe that, even in what is deemed to be the worst in the country there will be something you can learn from."

Mrs Paul said it was the 'speed of change' at Westfield School which concerned Ofsted inspectors, but she is confident of 'giving the school the push it deserves'.

"It is so close, it just needs that push and drive," she said.

"I think we can at least get a 'good' in the next inspection but our aim is to push for outstanding and I don't think we should stop at anything less. It has the recipe to be an amazing school."

The interim head said she has been impressed with the school's students, describing them as 'lovely, polite, courteous, friendly and curious' and 'who want to do well for themselves'.

She urged parents to 'hold firm' and give the school chance to improve.

"Westfield School is about to enter into a really exciting time of development. It would be a knee-jerk reaction to take their children out now. I would urge them to have faith in Westfield and take confidence in the reputation of Silverdale. Greatness is going to happen," she added.

She said she would like more Westfield School students to enter into post 16 education.

A recruitment drive is underway for new headteacher.