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ST. GEORGE’S Primary School in Semington has started the school year with a new headteacher ready to steer the school in a new direction after its ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating earlier this year.
Headteacher of Seend Primary School, Jackie Chalk, has been appointed headteacher of St George’s and will now lead both schools. The news follows a difficult time for the Semington school who went into special measures after Ofsted highlighted failing educational standards and poor management, and rated the school ‘inadequate’ in April this year.
Until Jackie Chalk’s appointment, the school was being supported by an interim leadership team within The Academy Trust of Melksham after previous headteacher, Gordon Campbell, left in October last year.
The governing body of Seend Primary School, which was rated ‘good’ in their Ofsted report, have also followed Jackie Chalk and will support her leadership of both schools.
“I have a very strong and established staff and leadership team at Seend and this was recognised in our recent Ofsted report. It makes sense that Seend is the school to join forces with St George’s as we are both small village church primary schools separated only by a five minute car journey,” said Jackie Chalk.
“Most of the previous staff have left St George’s and most of the new staff are already known to me and in fact many have previously worked for me.
“Whilst it is like starting a brand new school it has made it easier by the fact that those relationships and understanding of ‘the Seend way’ are already there for many of us. Many of the staff have had a very busy summer holiday with many staff spending a lot of their time in school (with spouses!) clearing out old resources, restructuring the reading books, painting sheds and making mud kitchens in an effort to show that they really care about the school and make it an attractive environment for them again.
“At the beginning of term, the school had two training days with the staff at Seend, where they discussed the principles of good teaching and learning, as well as ensuring all staff have up-to-date child protection and fire safety training. In the first instance, the greater need is at St George’s so more of my time will be spent there, but it is hoped that once we have proved we are on an upward trajectory, I can leave the improvements to embed and the progress will follow. Plus, I have an excellent deputy head at Seend (Mrs Coleman) and an excellent senior teacher at St George’s (Mrs Hunt).
“In the meantime we will be carefully monitoring the teaching and learning by regularly evaluating planning, observing teaching, carrying out book scrutinies and speaking with the children. More importantly, the staff have been very busy planning an exciting new curriculum with a focus on creating achievable challenge through exciting topics matched to the children’s prior attainment.
“The school has gone through a lot of change recently and our aim now is to bring stability and consistency, to deliver the care and education that these children deserve.”