Monday, 9 July 2012

Hibbert’s rules, ...

... Old girl returns as head and saves sinking school. 
A former pupil has transformed her old school from one “ruled by children” to an “outstanding” primary.  Hollin Primary School in Middleton, Rochdale, near Manchester, was placed in special measures after being castigated by Ofsted for inadequate teaching and leadership, and erratic attendance. Elaine Hibbert, 57, who first joined the school aged 5, returned five decades later as a “super-head” and last week it was rated outstanding. 
Mrs Hibbert, who turned around two failing schools before returning to Hollin, describes the culture of struggling schools as akin to Lord of the Flies. 

“Nearly all my headships have been in schools that have failed or are about to fail, schools that are usually in very damaged communities,” she said. “My first was in 2000 at a primary school in Oldham. Expectations were low. It took just under two years to come out of special measures.” 

Her second was in Rochdale. “The head teacher had gone off sick, and when there is no leadership at the top the teachers batten down the hatches and become very insular. It’s a broken regime and the children get hold of the school and forge their rule on it. Pupil presence in failing schools is always very strong.” By the time Mrs Hibbert left in 2009, it was rated outstanding. 
She arrived at Hollin Primary in the same year. Once she set out her plans, half the staff decided to leave. In the 1950s there had been an “immense amount of pride” in the new council estate where she grew up. It now has endemic unemployment. “The aspirations of many parents were very low but they still wanted a good deal for their children,” she said. “One of the issues was the lack of trust parents had in the school. In modern schools you have to try a lot harder to earn respect from children and parents.” 

She added: “I’ve found, quite sadly, that parents challenge teachers as a matter of course. There’s no point challenging a teacher if the child is not at the expected standard or if the parent has not made sure the child is at school every day, or isn’t doing homework. 

“Teachers would never criticise a parent for challenging them about the curriculum or the progress their child is making, but what frustrates teachers is being challenged over how they deal with behaviour, and sanctions they have put in place.” 

Parents and children reacted with disbelief when they heard she was from the estate where they lived. She said: “We didn’t have a uniform in those days. The parents were all really hard-working but when you see old school photos we look like ragamuffins.” Teachers were treated “like gods” and dinner ladies ruled with a rod of iron. 
Since she became head, results in the Key Stage 2 tests taken by 11-year-olds have risen from the low 40s to 100 per cent in reading, writing and maths. Mrs Hibbert said: “The whole ethos of the school has changed.”
The Times 9 July 2012.

Hibbert’s rules, ...

... as modified for life thereafter :

Have clear principles, a moral code, a sense of purpose,recruit or retain staff who want to make a difference and embrace the local community.


No comments:

Post a Comment