What the teachers say
CHIEF inspector of schools Chris Woodhead this week annointed 273 of the country's top-performing and most-improved schools in his standards report.
Maureen McTaggart and Chris Bunting talked to this year's chosen ones - and some of their predecessors: Debra Thompson, headteacher at Sparrow Farm junior, Hounslow, west London, marked as improving, said: "Four years ago the school was identified as having serious weaknesses. As a new head, I found the OFSTED report a good basic reference point. It enabled me to focus my efforts. The school has transformed, standards have risen above the national average and we are in the top 5 per cent nationally in maths and science and top 25 per cent in English."
Anne Hayes, head, Elangeni county middle, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, said: "Elangeni is a school where achievement and excellence are celebrated on a daily basis for the children. Now it is the turn of the staff, teaching and non-teaching, to be given public recognition for the magnificent work they do as a team. We are thrilled to be on the list - and not before time!"
Barry Mellor, headteacher, Woodside junior, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, said: "It is woderful for us to have recognition and is richly deserved. I am pleased for all the staff, from the caretaker to class teachers. We now have to keep it up."
Gillian Gee, deputy head, Thomas Alleyne's high school in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, named in the outstanding category said: "The inspectors said we were equally successful across the whole curriculum. That gives teachers huge satisfaction. To be on the list is a real honour. But there is always something new to achieve, we have high ambitions."
Marie Bell, head of Harlow Green junior, Gateshead, on the list of the most improved schools this year, is keeping a level head about the accolade.
"It is nice to be recognised and to have a celebration, but you know you are doing a good job. Our parents already know we are doing well because we have good communications."
Norman Corner, head of Lady Lumley's secondary, Pickering, North Yorkshire, named as a top-improver last year, said: "It gives you a fillip but I wouldn't say it had a lasting impact. There are soon lots of new challenges on your plate."
He said they had shared good practice with local schools, but had few approaches from schools outside the area.