All change at Firs Hill

Pupil ar Firshill School
Pupil ar Firshill School

All change at Firs Hill

Story by Fran Belbin

Photo by Saskia Baker

Firs Hill Community Primary School has undergone significant changes since being put into special measures last November. The Regional Schools Commissioner requires that the school becomes an academy. It will reopen as Abbeyfield Primary Academy in August, sponsored by Five Rivers Multi Academy Trust, with Helen Best, from the senior leadership team, as Principal.

An executive team from Tinsley Meadows Primary were brought in after OFSTED found Firs Hill “inadequate”. Concerns included lack of safety, bullying, intimidation and poor behaviour amongst pupils, alongside weak teaching and lack of educational progress.

A school spokesperson stated: “Behaviour and safety has improved following the implementation of new strategies and higher expectations. Children are now demonstrating improved attitudes to learning and bullying, racism and homophobia is declining. The work produced by children has dramatically improved.” In April OFSTED found that the new leadership team was taking effective action, and Tanzeen Younus, Year 2 parent, agreed: “There was lots of bullying in the past. The changes are definitely positive. The system for children lining up in the morning is a lot more organised and the security is brilliant. The homework received by the children is much better too.”

Anap has children at the school: “Before there was lots of fighting. My son was always in trouble. Now there is a stricter learning environment and booster classes. We have our life back.”

Another parent whose child had been labelled with “anger issues” says her son doesn’t feel so angry and is now enjoying school. Pupils report improvements too: “The behaviour in the classroom is better. When we do something good we get marbles, and when the jar is full we get a special treat as a class.” (Brodie, Y5)

“The school is better, there is less fighting. There is a warning book; if you get seven warnings you have to see the teacher. You have to write “I will not be rude again” twenty times if you are naughty.” (Gabriel, Y2) “Before children were made fun of for their background and sometimes they left. Now there are more teachers out during playtime, the rules are stricter.” (Cosmo, Y5) However, one parent told us “I don’t agree with the school becoming an academy, it’s not good for the teachers or children.” Another said that, while some security improvements were necessary, parents no longer feel welcome. Parents’ visits to class have been abolished and there is no longer a parents’ group. “The atmosphere in the yard with parents isn’t caring or friendly like it used to be. The foundation of community has broken down.”

Current Executive Head Becky Webb feels parents are supportive: “We rely on strong links with parents and are overwhelmed by the support we have received. Parents have responded positively with some excellent feedback. We are working to secure improvements and this effort is paying off. We are already seeing results and are confident that Firs Hill will go from strength to strength.”

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The content on this page was added to the website by Amy Palmer on 2016-07-21 11:39:01.
The content of the page was last modified by Alice Kirby on 2016-09-28 10:45:03.

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