Baines High School and Sixth Form’s new headteacher has a three year plan

Alison Chapman, the new headteacher at Baines in Poulton
Alison Chapman, the new headteacher at Baines in Poulton

The new headteacher at Baines High School and Sixth Form in Poulton has pledged to get it back on track.

Alison Chapman took over the helm from Roddy McCowan at the start of the new term, and said she wants the school to be rated ‘good’ by education watchdog Ofsted within the next three years – and be well on the way to the top mark of ‘outstanding’.

I’m extremely proud to be at the school

The former vice-principal at the Queen Katherine School Multi Academy Trust in south Cumbria said: “It should be achievable in three years, no problem.”

The school was told it needs to improve by inspectors from education watchdog Ofsted earlier this year.

Senior teachers and governors were criticised by failing to move the school forwards after it was also told to improve in 2015, and the quality of teaching was found not to have a ‘strong enough impact on pupils’ progress’.

Mr McCowan, who announced his retirement last year, later said the report was a ‘disappointment to all of us’.

And youngsters at Baines, in Highcross Road, returned to classrooms earlier this month to a raft of staff changes.

They include new English, history, and Religious Education (RE) teachers, with a total of nine new appointments revealed in a newsletter to parents recently.

Ms Chapman said: “The first priority is teaching and learning, and to ensure it’s all consistently good to outstanding, and that will to strong outcomes.”

She said improving the sixth form is also a priority, and said she also wants to improve the relationship with the community.

Head’s joy

Alison Chapman said she was drawn to Baines by its history and atmosphere, and by the honesty of pupils and staff.

She accepted the role in January, and took the helm at the start of the new school year earlier this month.

“It’s the most fantastic feeling,” she said. “I’m extremely proud to be at the school.

“I have spent a lot of time walking around the corridors and having lunch in the canteen with the students.”

Speaking to The Gazette yesterday, she said pupils have also been reinvigorated by the change, with staff telling her daily of their successes.