STAFF at a Swindon primary school are celebrating a year of hard work paying off after receiving positive feedback from parents.

Oakhurst Community Primary School headteacher Lizzie Christopher stepped in to lead the school one year ago yesterday and has overseen a remarkable improvement since then with the help of a new senior leadership team, a new special educational needs leader - and a new library.

Lizzie said: “I was really excited to come here and take on the challenge of running a bigger school, it was in a strong position to move forward, it just needed someone to steer it, I’ve enjoyed every day I’ve been here.

“The school had a few years without a permanent headteacher in place so there has been quite a turnaround of staff and that had a ripple effect with how the community felt about the school. We wanted to bring the community feeling back and, after a lot of hard work, I think we’re succeeding because we’ve had great responses from our parent questionnaires.

“Our goal is for all the children to enjoy school, feel safe, grow as individuals and ensure we celebrate uniqueness and be inclusive so everyone feels valued for whatever they can achieve and has high aspirations.”

Oakhurst is the first and only Swindon school to receive a platinum School Games award for its sports provision which is supported by Draycott Sports Academy, and has received consistent Good Ofsted reports since it opened in 2010. Lizzie highlighted the work of new SEN leader Laura Manchester for organising coffee mornings for parents of special needs pupils and extra teacher training sessions, plus Amy Meads and Paul Strange for setting up a revamped library.

Paul said: “The children in our school council wanted to reverse an earlier decision to close the library in favour of having reading zones around the school. We took them to different school libraries to see what appealed to them and let them choose the decoration.They wanted something quite grown-up, they didn’t want Harry Potter all over the walls in case it became outdated when the next cool thing came along.

“The day after the library opened, one boy said he’d been a reluctant reader but had already finished one book and wanted to take out another. That was a special moment that made it all worthwhile.”