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St Christopher's RC infants schoo

Joyce Ridpath came to St Christopher's RC infants school, Speke, as a new head knowing it was already in special measures. Within a year she had led it out.

"I'm a practising optimist," she says. "The staff here were good - it was simply a question of pointing people's hard work in the right direction. Before, they had been thinkin failure."

The literacy and numeracy strategies helped focus people's efforts - as did a lot of support from the authority.

Once confidence had returned, Ridpath put the emphasis on art and the environment and proudly points to the displays of children's work and garden designs that have transformed the playground.

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