Education chiefs vow to turn Bankfield round 'at speed'

Bankfield School

Bankfield School

First published in News Runcorn and Widnes World: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A NEW leadership team has vowed to restore Bankfield School, branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted inspectors, back to its former glory.

Head teacher Carole Owen retired days after the Liverpool Road school was placed in special measures.

She said she always intended to leave teaching once she reached 55 and is now confident the school will recover.

John Rigby, principal of Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy in Runcorn, has been appointed interim executive head teacher and will work with new deputy head teacher Tuesday Humby, who has been seconded from the same school.

Bankfield is now preparing to break free from Halton Council and become an independently sponsored academy.

Harry Ziman, chairman of the newly appointed interim executive board (IEB) which now manages the school, said: “It is my role to ensure that standards at Bankfield are transformed back to the outstanding school that Ofsted judged it to be just three years ago.

“I am delighted to have secured the support of John Rigby, whose school was confirmed as one of the most improved schools in the country last year.

“Their results are now above the national average.

“John will be working with the new deputy head teacher,Tuesday Humby, to support the school in quickly addressing the concerns most recently raised by Ofsted.

“Tuesday comes with a wealth of experience and excellent track record of working with schools in similar circumstances.”

An Ofsted spokesman said: “Mr Rigby provides outstanding leadership which is best illustrated by his uncompromising drive for improvement and high aspirations for all.”

Experienced school governor Mr Ziman, will lead the IEB with Dr Ruth Agnew, who trains governors, Halton Clr Phil Harris, a governor with 25 years’ experience, and Halton Clr Tony McDermott, a retired teacher and governor.

Gerald Meehan, Halton Council’s strategic director for children, said: “Bankfield’s GCSE performance has gone down by 40 per cent.

“We are doing everything we can to get everything moving as fast as we can to turn around this school. This school will turn around at speed.

“I can reassure parents our number one priority is the pupils who attend Bankfield. They will get the best possible education.

“My message is that behaviour has to be number one. A high priority of support will be provided for teachers.”

He said Steve Nyakatawa, Halton’s operational director for learning and achievement is working intensively to support staff.

Retiring head teacher Carole Owen said: “I have waited until this moment to make my intentions public to ensure that Bankfield has stability and continuity through the appointment of the interim executive board.

“Now that this is in place, I am confident that I am passing the reins over to and IEB which shares my views and values.

“They will drive the necessary school improvements.

“Bankfield will always be in my heart. I hope that parents will support the IEB as they build on the strengths of the school to ‘bring out the best’ in every young person.”

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