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School bounces back after scathing report

New academy ‘is going to be great’, says headteacher

27 July, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Head Amanda Szewczyk-Radley with Fr Christ­opher Trundle. ‘The school is at the point of bursting into a flower,’ said Ms Szewczyk-Radley

A VICAR and a new headteacher are working together to turn around the fortunes of a primary school a year after a devastating inspection gave it the worst possible rating.

Headteacher Amanda Szewczyk-Radley was drafted in after students, parents and teachers were left horrified by Ofsted’s “inadequate” rating of Clerkenwell Parochial school in March last year.

The historic school, in Amwell Street, has undergone a huge transformation in the last year, according to Ms Szewczyk-Radley.

“I want the community to be aware that this school is going places,” she said.

“We have to help children move forward. I am so committed to this school and it is at the point of bursting into a flower. This school is going to be great.”

The inspector previously highlighted failures over “safeguarding” – protecting children – and a lack of effective leadership and management.

But Ms Szewczyk-Radley, who has lived in the borough for 30 years, says the school has overhauled its safeguarding procedures and has recruited a new wave of “committed” teachers after eight resigned following its transformation to an academy.

But Ms Szewczyk-Radley said: “I am so lucky. I have the most motived, committed support. I’ve recruited people who want to make a difference.”

The Church of England school, converted into an academy following the Ofsted inspection, is now run by the London Diocesan Board for Schools.

Chair of governors and vicar of nearby Holy Redeemer Church in Exmouth Market, Father Christopher Trundle visits the school at least three time a week to monitor its progress.

He said: “Amanda has a bright, fresh vision and a focus and commitment to the transformation of the school. Her vision puts children front and centre and at the heart of all decisions.”

The school, which features the country’s oldest fig tree, was established in 1699. Author Charles Dickens performed readings there in the 19th century.

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