A headteacher returning to take over at his former school today pledged to turn around the fortunes of Blackpool’s troubled Revoe Primary School.
After a turbulent year which saw seven staff suspended over pupil safety concerns and a damning Ofsted inspection which led to the Grasmere Road school being placed in special measures, it is now looking to a new era.
Dayle Harrison, a former deputy headteacher at the school, has been brought in to run the school and spearhead its conversion to academy status, under the sponsorship of a multi-academy trust (MAT) made up of Devonshire, Anchorsholme and Park schools.
He said: “Recent history has had such an impact so now it’s all about looking to the future and building on the many strengths.
“And that’s not being blase, but we’ve got to get back to basics.
“Our job now is to rapidly improve the quality of teaching and learning, celebrate strengths and talents, build a strong team and make sure we’ve got children who are resilient and aspirational and proud of the school.”
Teachers will be encouraged through professional development programmes and children who do well are being personally written to by their new headteacher, both to boost confidence.
And “significant” changes have been made to safeguarding practices, which came under scrutiny when a child was alleged to have been “locked in” a room last year, as well as to the behaviour policy.
The school this week received an inspection report from Ofsted, part of ongoing measures to monitor the school since it was given the worst rating by the school watchdog.
It said outcomes for pupils and the quality of teaching and pupil behaviour are improving, teachers are becoming more positive, and staffing issues are less pronounced than previously.
Mr Harrison started teaching at Stanah Primary School, Thornton, before moving to Revoe in 1999 as deputy headteacher.
When Grange Park’s Boundary Primary School was placed in special measures by Ofsted he was brought in to turn the school around, in 2004.
The school has since had two good Ofsted ratings and now Mr Harrison plans the same for Revoe.
He said: “The children and families really wanted Boundary to succeed, it’s no different at Revoe, everyone wants to pull together.”
The community’s passion for its school has already been seized upon by bosses deciding on a potential new name for Revoe when it converts to academy status.
While Armfield Academy had been mooted, in honour of Blackpool FC legend and Revoe old boy Jimmy Armfield, Revoe Learning Academy has now been decided on.
And the school is promising parents’ commitment will be returned, offering stalls from charities and support agencies alongside a parents evening next week.
Mr Harrison added: “It’s been a sad time for the school but we’re not dwelling.
“With my skills and experience from working at Boundary along with the team here, the children, families and the MAT, I’m confident Revoe will return to be a good school.
“It’s a privilege to be here.”