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'I was ecstatic when I heard'

ALL Saints primary in Appley Bridge, Wigan, was one school that delighted inspectors with its swift progress.

When the Office for Standards in Education pronounced All Saints a failing school in March 2000, staff and parents were devastated.

So there was all-round jubilation when they were given a clean bill of health in May, after just one year.

Headteacher Jane Phythian took over after the school was put in special measures. She said: "I was ecstatic when I heard. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. We had put in all that hard work and it paid off."

Ms Phythian puts the school's rapid improvement down to the sheer dedication of the staff - and incredible teamwork from the parents, staff and governors.

All Saints has 160 pupils, mostly from well-off homes. Twenty-one are diagnosed with special needs, and only 7 per cent of the children are eligible for free school meals.

The school had failed partly on leadership and management. Inspectors also found that teachers did not have high expectations of pupils and that the children were not academically challenged.

But in just over a year school inspectors found a marked improvement in leadership and management, in the children's attainment levels, and in the breadth and depth of the curriculum.

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