IT is a Hampshire school that is certainly going places.

Already Merdon Junior School has come a long way as just two years ago the school was failing in the eyes of Ofsted.

But now, after lots of changes and with their new headteacher Jo Walker at the helm, Merdon is seeing success once more.

Now the school has some of the best results in Hampshire, with 88 per cent of its year six pupils at the rapidly improving school expecting to achieve good Key Stage Two SATS results – well above national expectations.

As part of the transformation the school has already embraced the new curriculum which will be taught at schools across the country from September.

The decision was made in an attempt to make lessons more exciting for the children.

The school, now with 230 pupils on roll, has also recently welcomed more than 30 new children and more than 200 youngsters have signed up to after school clubs.

The mum-of-two, who has been teaching for 11 years, has a background in improving schools, and in the three years she was at Rownhams St John’s the school was transformed from being given notice to improve from Ofsted, to being rated good.

Now she is keen to see Merdon continue changing for the better.

She said: “When I first arrived there was lots of things still to be done, but the school had huge potential. It was about using the skills of the staff and their enthusiasm and drive to turn it around. The parents and the community have really supported us as well.

“What we’ve worked on is consistency, quality, standards and excellence in everything we do.“It’s fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with because everything I’ve suggested to look at they’ve been behind me.

“That’s the key – it’s about our partnership in putting Merdon back where it should be.”

Vibrant and forward-thinking says head

Daily Echo: Head teacher Jo Walker

Head teacher Jo Walker says: "Merdon Junior is a vibrant and  forward-thinking school. Over the last two years the school has had to make rapid improvements and we believe that this has put us in a very strong position for the future. 

We are a school that embraces change and puts the children at the very heart of the work and improvements that are undertaken. 

Our community and parents have shown the school great support and we enjoy working with them to help their children thrive. 

Merdon is a school that strives to achieve excellence for all in English and Maths, whilst helping children to find their own talents, passions and interests. This is reflected in our high SATs results and great sporting and art achievements. 

Our children need to leave us with the skills and tools to succeed and the mindset, self-esteem and courage to pursue their dreams. 

Since I joined the school in April 2013 we have had an extra 30 children join us. I think is testament to what we now offer to our community and spaces in year groups are becoming few and far between! 

Our aim is simple: that all children should achieve their very best, and we will do what is needed to ensure this happens.

Mum's the word in art!

Daily Echo: Kirsten Haines, Jocelyn Kwan and Laura Cruickshank with the Year 5 competition winning Mother’s Day pictures.

YOUNG artists will make their mums proud when their artwork is displayed at The Swan Centre in Eastleigh.

Year five pupils at the school drew portraits of their mums for a Mother’s Day art competition run by the shopping centre.

The school won the £100 prize for the best overall entries, beating 19 other schools in the competition which saw people vote for their favourite pictures online.

Now the children will get to see their work displayed at the Swan Centre in time for Mother’s Day this weekend.


Hitting the headlines

Daily Echo: Pictured are Year 6 pupils who have been writing newspaper reports.

CLASSROOMS are feeling the buzz of a newsroom as pupils produce newspaper-style reports this term.

They have been asked to produce copy on the events of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
By conducting their own research they have been asked to tell the story through the eyes of a newspaper journalist and imagine how it would have been reported at the time.

Victory is their goal

Daily Echo: Pictured are the triumphant Year 5 Boys football team.

THEY beat dozens of schools from across Hampshire and will now play at a stadium that has hosted some of the best teams in the world.

Merdon Junior School’s six-a-side football team will represent Southampton Football Club as they take on schools from across the country in a national youth schools competition.

Year six pupils Charlie Ost, Mackenzie Bowne, Aaron Kerr, Bailey Alden, Edward Finch and Jordan Evans and Isaac Evans and Charlies Moorcroft from year five went head to head with 33 other Hampshire schools in a football tournament at Goals in Millbrook.

After their triumph they will now  don the Saints Academy kit and travel to Manchester with their PE teacher Sally Murray.

The schoolchildren will take on 19 other young teams at Manchester City Football Club’s Etihad stadium, representing the other 19 premiership football teams from across the country.

This is not the first piece of footballing success the school has seen in recent months.
In December the boys were crowned champions in the Eastleigh and District schools competition when they beat seven other schools in a football tournament.


Celebration of home projects

THE work of the children at Merdon is celebrated at every opportunity. Projects are given for the pupils to do at home and then they are invited to share it with their peers. Youngsters have been asked to produce some Saxon dwellings and shields.

Daily Echo: Pictured are Hannah Cox, Ella Vine, Megan Ward, Jacob Buckingham, Sonnie Davis, Sam Evans.  


Transforming a room for the community

IT used to be a dark dank store room at the front of the school.

But thanks to two donations from the community, Merdon Junior School have transformed it into a brightly coloured space that they are proud to show off.

The school was given a donation of £1,000 from The Parish of Chandler’s Ford and a £600 donation from Chandler’s Ford Parish Council, and began work in the October half term.

The Community Room will be officially opened by the Bishop of Southampton, the Rt Revd Jonathan Frost, on April 30, but community groups, school clubs and other nearby schools have already started to use the room.