New head's pledge to make Sheffield school placed in special measures 'excellent'

Joe Birkbeck
Joe Birkbeck
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The new head of a Sheffield secondary placed in special measures this year has pledged to make all aspects of the school 'excellent'.

Joe Birkbeck made his first appearance at Westfield School on Wednesday after being appointed to turn its poor performance around.

Westfield School

Westfield School

In March Ofsted inspectors said Westfield was failing pupils. Former headteacher Andy Ireland quit days before the report was released, and Silverdale Multi Academy Trust was brought in to oversee the running of the school.

Mr Birkbeck has now been brought in to try to bring the school up to standard. And while he will only officially start his job in September, he is already developing a plan for improvement.

"I'm keen to work with colleagues, students, parents and governors at Westfield to develop a shared vision for the school," he said.

"However, my priorities will be simple: to ensure excellent leadership at all levels, and excellent teaching and learning, and to secure brilliant results and outcomes for all of Westfield's students - whatever their background, interests and aptitudes.

"My aim is that all members of the school community will feel supported and challenged to excel - that students will gain not only excellent results, but also that they will develop skills to be independent, critical thinkers, and become young adults with a sense of social responsibility, able to make a positive contribution to their local community and beyond."

Mr Birkbeck, who was assistant head at Silverdale before moving to a deputy head role in West Yorkshire, will have to change inspectors' view that the overall effectiveness of Westfield was 'inadequate'.

In March they said the school was 'failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education’.

Mr Birkbeck will work with Westfield executive head Roisin Paul, who also leads Silverdale School.

She said she was confident the new head would make a 'positive difference'.

"He is passionate about providing the very best education for young people, and incredibly hardworking," she said.

"He is very approachable and I know he will be an excellent role model for staff and students alike.

"His experience and expertise will really help us take the next important steps as we move Westfield towards becoming a good - and eventually - an outstanding school".

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