From special measures to ‘outstanding’ – and all thanks to evidence

Turning around a struggling school is never easy, but solid research can give teachers the tools they need to pull themselves out of the mire, says Megan Dixon

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On the day that I first met Lisa Hesmondhalgh, the headteacher of Peover Superior Primary School, she was pale, clearly tired and worried. A term after starting her first headship at this idyllic village school in the Cheshire countryside, Ofsted had rung. Two intense days later, the verdict was in: special measures.

This was the summer of 2014, and I was new in post as the director of literacy for the newly established Aspire Educational Trust, of which Peover Superior was a part. Lisa and I were about to embark on a difficult task: leading a truly evidence-informed approach to school ...

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