JUST OVER a year ago Jenny Pitman took the helm of a Hampshire school that education watchdogs branded failing and inadequate.

Today she can say she is now the headteacher of a ‘good’ school after Testwood Sports College not only shook off the inadequate label but improved by two levels.

Ofsted inspectors gave the school a ‘good’ rating after a recent inspection where they found across the board leadership, teaching, behaviour and student performance was excelling.

According to Mrs Pitman it is the best end of year celebration the school could have hoped for and the culmination of a lot of hard work by staff and students.

In their latest report, Ofsted inspectors said: “The headteacher has rapidly established a culture of high expectations and brought about substantial changes that have improved students achievement.

The quality of teaching is good because teachers know each student’s strengths and weaknesses.

“Students behave well and achievement has strongly improved due to better teaching.”

As previously reported by the Daily Echo the school was placed in special measures at the end of 2013. That led to the resignation of former headteacher Ian Appleton after a follow-up visit found not enough improvement was being made.

Almost immediately after Mrs Pitman’s appointment changes were made including a new-look uniform introduced and a revamped timetable.

Reward badges were also introduced which has had a big impact on students.

Mrs Pitman said: “No-one liked the idea that we were deemed to be a failing school, but with the new uniform and the badges displayed on their blazers, it really gave the students a reason to be proud of the school and what they have achieved.

"It reinforces what great kids they are.”

Ambitious targets are also part of the success story with pupils encouraged to make four levels of progress, above the governments target of three.

Parents have also been closely involved and now receive regular updates on progress. Far from resting on their laurels the school is determined to reach ‘outstanding’ status.

Mrs Pitman, whose mum also went to to the school, said: “We want our community to be able to go to their local school and know their children are getting a great education. Now we can hold our heads high and say we are delivering that.”