I wanted to put things right, says new head

Holtsmere End Primary School headteacher Emma McGuigan and pupils.
Holtsmere End Primary School headteacher Emma McGuigan and pupils.

A school that was under ‘notice to improve’ has climbed the rankings to be classed ‘good’ by the watchdog Ofsted within just 13 months.

The inspection carried out at Holtsmere End Junior School in February last year found quality of teaching to be satisfactory, but overall effectiveness and leadership and management was deemed inadequate.

Shortly after the Ofsted visit, the school’s headteacher resigned. Deputy Emma McGuigan took over the role as acting headteacher and a senior management team was recruited.

Mrs McGuigan said: “I really wanted to be acting head and fought to get the position because I felt the staff deserved to have me lead them rather than someone else who didn’t know the school or understand how they were feeling.

“I could see what needed to be done and knew that getting the basics in place was achievable.

“I also felt partly responsible for the position we found ourselves in. Although I was a full time teacher in February 2012, I was also deputy head and part of a management team that failed.

“I had a lot to prove and wanted the opportunity to make a difference and put things right.”

Since taking up the top position she has hosted a meeting with parents, attended an Ofsted gathering with other inadequate school representatives and organised an inset training day for staff at an ‘outstanding’ school.

Another inspection was carried out at the Shenley Road school in March when all areas – achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management – were rated as good.

Ofsted inspector Philip Mann said: “Much of the teaching is good and sometimes outstanding. No inadequate teaching was observed.”

He said Mrs McGuigan has ‘high expectations’ of both staff and pupils and added: “The issues from the last inspection focusing around the improvement of teaching and leadership have been 
addressed successfully with the result that teaching has improved and pupil standards have risen significantly.”