Full steam ahead for praised primary boss

THE new headteacher of a West Hampstead primary school has been commended for ringing the changes

Ben McPartland

THE new headteacher of a West Hampstead primary school has been commended for ringing the changes.

When independent inspectors visited St Eugene de Mazenod Roman Catholic school on January 17 they gave it an overall rating of satisfactory.

But Ofsted reserved special praise for the work done by headteacher Juliette Jackson in the short time she has been at the school.

Ms Jackson took over in September and has wasted no time in transforming a primary previously criticised for failing to introduce much-needed change.

Inspectors said: "Ms Jackson gives a very good lead and her impact on tackling weaknesses in many areas of the school is already evident in the signs of improvement in pupil's progress, the enthusiasm of the staff and the renewed confidence of parents in the school.

Most Read

"Although there has been insufficient time for the full impact of these initiatives to be apparent, the progress made in one term indicates the school has a good capacity to improve further.

"The new headteacher has brought vision and drive to shape a new direction for the school. Urgent changes have been implemented sensitively with the support of staff and governors."

Ms Jackson responded by saying: "Some changes and improvements needed to be made and we have worked hard together with the governors and parents to make them.

"We are delighted Ofsted has recognised that.

"Parents are very, very positive and helpful with all the changes that have been taking place and they have been very positive about the outcome."

Ofsted inspector's most recent verdict on the Mazenod Avenue primary was in direct contrast to their visit in May 2003 when they criticised the school's management for 'lacking urgency in initiating change'.

Under Ms Jackson's leadership the school now has a revised behaviour policy and an improved system of tracking pupils' progress.

It also has a more challenging curriculum and one change popular with many pupils has been to introduce organised sporting activities at break times.

Many pupils at St Eugene De Mazenod come from areas in West Hampstead and Kilburn where there are high levels of poverty.

More than half of youngsters are entitled to free school meals, which is well above the national average.

But Ms Jackson and the rest of the staff still have work to do. Before the next inspection Ofsted has demanded improved standards in reading and writing and inspectors say teaching needs to be more challenging to all groups of pupils in the school.