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Head's fine legacy
LINDA Rankin, who has worked in education for more than 40 years in Swindon, is resigning from Colebrook Infant Academy on a high following a glowing Ofsted report.
Linda, who has been headteacher at the academy in Stratton St Margaret for four-and-a-half years, said the report, which classed the school as ‘good’, was a fitting end to her career.
The first report into the school since it was converted into an academy in 2011 said achievement was excellent across the board.
It said: “Children make good progress from the moment they enter. Children quickly develop important skills like understanding numbers and the ability to sound out letters to help them recognise words.
“All pupils have equal opportunities to succeed. Careful assessment gives the school precise information about the challenges facing pupils, such as those who are disabled, those who have special educational needs and those for whom English is not their first language.
“The school makes regular checks on teaching and progress to help it improve. It holds a clear picture of where each pupil stands academically and the rate of her or his progress.
“Frequent review meetings ensure any weaknesses are quickly dealt with. These meetings are also used to hold class teachers to account for the quality of their teaching and how well their pupils are doing. These can trigger additional support and training opportunities to help staff improve their practice. The headteacher is a positive influence and sets high expectations for pupils and staff.”
Linda said she was particularly pleased with the report because the criteria for inspection has been tightened considerably.
“We have to acknowledge things have changed over the last five years. The bar has been raised, and we have seen lots of schools suffer as a result. To maintain our status is very encouraging.
“We did quite a lot of analysis of our results from Key Stage 1, so we knew where the children needed to be and what they had to improve on. Everything else then falls into place. Ofsted recognised that is a team effort.
“The children have been fantastic. Although we did not want to stress them out they knew people were there looking over their shoulders. The other thing that was really welcome was that they saw the governing body was well placed for the challenge of leadership.
“Some of the criteria is much more rigorous and it is much more about pupil outcomes and achievement right through the school. They want to see a consistent idea of working.
“It is a much fairer way of doing it because we can’t just put on a good show for two days and pull the wool over their eyes.”
Linda said it is the right time for her to step down.
She said: “I am going to retire in the summer. I have done a lot of inspections in my time and I am really proud of this one.
“It’s an all-consuming job but when the time is right you know, and with the new curriculum coming in now is the best time for someone else to come in.”