I won't fail in bid to improve failing school'

PUBLISHED: 16:47 21 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:45 01 June 2010

AN education chief tasked with turning around a failing Wisbech secondary school said he would not let down parents, staff or pupils. Gordon Jeyes, Cambridgeshire County Council s deputy chief executive for children and young people s services, has been c

AN education chief tasked with turning around a failing Wisbech secondary school said he would not let down parents, staff or pupils.

Gordon Jeyes, Cambridgeshire County Council's deputy chief executive for children and young people's services, has been called to lead a top education team, which aims to change the fortunes of the Queen's School at Wisbech, following the resignation of head teacher Stephen McKenna.

The 1,380-pupil school was placed on special measures following an Ofsted report, which said it was inadequate in almost all areas and put most of the blame on the management and governors.

The inspectors said children were not enjoying learning, there was disruption in the classroom and there had been an escalation of racist bullying.

Mr Jeyes, who spent 10 years working in education in Scotland, said: "I have been working in England for 18 months so I have not read lots of Ofsted reports, but I can say this is a shocking report and is quite clearly one of the most critical.

"Schools can be placed on special measures for a lot less."

However, Mr Jeyes wants the key message to parents to be that Queen's is a good school, with lots of qualities and some excellent teaching staff.

"We are going to turn the school around," he said. "I'm determined to change the success of the school.

"It will be difficult and challenging and it will take a while, but I'm not going to fail."

Mr Jeyes said that had the Ofsted inspectors not visited the school, the council was already taking steps to intervene because of its concerns about the way it was being run.

One of the its first steps is to bring in an interim executive board to replace the entire governing body.

The board, which includes top figures from across the region, will enable the council to have more powers to intervene and change the course of the school.

The recovery plan also includes recruiting a consultant head teacher, surgeries to give parents the chance to raise issues and concerns, and a parent group, one member of which would sit on the board.

A number of steps will be taken immediately to turn the school around, but Mr Jeyes said the main focus would be a return to stability to a school which parents could "rely on".

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