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Timeline: The Ridings school 1994-2005

1994: The Ridings school came about with the merger by Calderdale council of two Halifax secondary schools:Ovenden secondary and Holmfield High.

Karen Stansfield, deputy head of a Bradford upper school, was appointed as head.

1995: The school opened at the Ovenden site in January after a term's delay but was immediately dogged by discipline problems. A new discipline for learning system was brought in but proved controversial with staff and was unpopular with pupils.

1996: The beginning of a downward spiral began in autumn and the school was dubbed the "School from Hell" and "Britain's Worst School" in the local and national press. After being the subject of the BBC's Panorama programme, the school found itself at the centre of a national media storm. Attention focused on a 13-year-old who had given birth to a baby girl, and had a history of exclusions. Karen Stansfield resigned in October and was working out her notice as Ofsted arrived for an emergency inspection, part of which was captured by a Panorama crew. The school was designated as failing and it was put into special measures.The NASUWT teachers' union claimed a core of 60 pupils should be excluded and threatened strike action.Teachers refused to take lessons and would only teach their form groups after an incident in which a pupil made sexually explicit remarks to a young female teacher and felt her bottom. In early November it was decided the school should temporarily close.Calderdale council asked Peter Clarke - dubbed "superhead" in the press - the headteacher of Rastrick comprehensive, the first secondary to opt out of Calderdale control, to take Karen Stansfield's place. When the school reopened soon after he immediately excluded 33 pupils, 12 of them permanently. Anna White, a Calderdale headteacher who later became head at the Ridings, was brought in as associate head. A new discipline policy was introduced.Both heads were awarded CBEs for their work at the Ridings.

1997: By the start of the spring term the school reported that it had met the first of Ofsted demands: that good order and control be restored.

2001: The school had a full Ofsted inspection in January. It was described as a "good and improving school".

2005: Stuart Todd, who has experience with failing schools, took over from Anna White in August. In October an Ofsted inspection team arrives...

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