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We clawed our way back from the brink

When I started at Islington Green in 1991 it was a school with a good reputation, a handful of famous parents and, most importantly, self-confidence.

Six years later that self-confidence was shattered when the Office for Standards in Education placed our school in special measures. The effect on staff and pupils alike was devastating. Our happy if slightly comfortable environment was destroyed overnight.

It was the start of a rapid downward spiral. Existing behaviour problems quickly ran out of control as experienced, high-quality staff left the sinking ship and parents who had the option chose to send their children elsewhere.

It was not until Marion Parsons was appointed the following year that things began to improve. Her energy and passion for the children made a real difference to the self-worth of staff, not to mention pupils.

But there were still big problems such as challenging student behaviour and no clear strategy in place to tackle the difficulties.

Trevor Averre-Beeson has put the organisation in place that was lacking, and after six long years the school is once again thriving.

Why did I stay? I am a stronger and more resilient person as a result of the past six years. I am more open to change. But above all it is so satisfying to see all that hard work bear fruit that I would not change my experience for anything.

Emma Catt is head of media studies at Islington Green school

THEN and NOW

Ofsted reports on Islington Green school

'There is too much unsatisfactory teaching. A major cause of the poorer teaching is teachers' inability to control ill-disciplined pupils'- 1997

'This is an improving school. It provides a good curriculum that meets the needs of its diverse population'- 2003

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