Haggerston School got Ofsted’s thumbs-up in a recent report which rated it ‘Good’ following an inspection in October, giving the new head a confidence boost but a list of things to improve as she gets her teeth into the job.
The council-run school on Weymouth Terrace has not improved its rating since an inspection in 2013, but inspectors said “the new headteacher has quickly grasped the priorities to improve the school further.”
Ciara Emmerson, who took the helm at the 950-pupil secondary school in September, has praised Haggerston’s progress so far – it had received a lower ‘Satisfactory’ rating in reports in 2007 and 2010 – and said she wants to improve it to ‘Outstanding’ within three years.
It is Ms Emmerson’s first job as a headteacher; she took over from Jane Keeley after moving from Heartlands High School in Haringey where she was deputy head.
“I’m really enjoying the job so far. It is busy and challenging but it’s a school with a lot of potential and I have been fortunate to join subject leaders with a lot of vision and drive,” Ms Emmerson said.
The Ofsted report said: “In both 2015 and 2016, pupils’ progress was significantly above the national average in a range of subjects, including English and mathematics.” It also said staff morale was high, teaching was good and pupils were happy at the school.
However, it also said there had been a ‘sharp drop’ in GCSE maths results this year, the proportion of exclusions was too high, and the sixth form required improvement.
Ms Emmerson added: “We have appointed new leaders to maths and science and … we will continue to drive improvements in these subjects until we have the same consistently strong outcomes as we have in English, humanities, languages and the arts.
“The inspection team could see how hard Haggerston students work and commented on the ‘pride’ students take in their work and the way they wear their school uniform. These are powerful indicators of a positive school culture, where students are highly engaged and motivated by their learning.”