IT is a school that has shaken off its past and is now rightly revelling in its present day success.
Five years ago Cantell school in Southampton had lost its way. In special measures, left leaderless with the resignation of the headteacher and posting below average results in attendance and achievement.
But since then it has been a story of nothing but achievement. It has pulled itself out of the doldrums and transformed into a place where children believe in succeeding.
That has now been endorsed by inspectors who have given the school a glowing Ofsted report ranking it as a ‘good’ school that is now exceeding national targets.
It has been a turnaround overseen by headteacher Ruth Evans who still lives by the twin goals that were set when she took over at the helm – to be courteous and to challenge yourself.
“I must say those goals have been expanded to encompass a lot more of what Cantell is all about but essentially it comes back to those things.
To respect others and to push yourself every day, and that goes for everyone at the school,” said Mrs Evans, who was also praised for her leadership.
What pleased her most was how the inspectors recognised the work that has gone into improving teaching, the behaviour of pupils and ensuring each student is supported so they can achieve in their ambitions.
She added: “We know we have a great responsibility to help shape the life chances of the pupils in our care. One pupil told inspectors that coming here had given them a chance to shine, and that for me is better than anything that could be written about our school.”
Inspectors praised the school for:
• GCSE results have shown significant improvement from 2010 to 2013. Pupils make good progress from their starting points.
• The school makes good use of the data it holds about students’ performance to monitor their progress and is swift to act if any are falling behind.
• Teaching is good, with some examples of outstanding teaching.
• Behaviour is good overall and often outstanding in lessons.
Students are polite and courteous to staff and visitors. They feel safe and are proud to be members of the school.
The report comes on the back of the Violet Road school’s best ever GCSE results with 69 per cent of students achieving the gold standard 5A* to C grades including maths and English last year.
The report described the senior leadership team as “relentless and successful in their quest to improve standards.”
Deputy head Harry Kutty added that Mrs Evans’ vision to transform the school had empowered everyone connected with it to excel.
The report said in order to become an outstanding school Cantell needed to ensure all teaching was outstanding, encourage more independent learning and ensure feedback is shared well across the whole school.
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