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Last Updated: Monday, 12 July, 2004, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Reversal in fortunes for school
Newtown High School
Hard work by staff and pupils at Newtown High School has paid off
A high school in mid Wales has been taken off a 'serious weakness' list a year after a highly critical inspector's report.

Criticised for its poor teaching standards, leadership and pupil behaviour, Newtown High School has seen a reversal in its fortunes.

Following a re-inspection by Estyn, the school has shown improvement across the board, say officials.

Powys County Council confirmed on Monday that the school had been taken off a serious weakness list and praised its staff, governors and pupils.

It's been a remarkable achievement
Judith Pryce, head teacher Newtown High School

Head teacher, Judith Pryce, said: "We had our re-inspection in May and it was rigorous and very thorough, but fair and professional.

"It was an intensive three-day inspection.

"We knew what to expect as a school, but we knew where we were going and once we were on track the inspection was just an endorsement of what we already knew."

Mrs Pryce, formerly deputy head at nearby Llanidloes High School, said Estyn found that the school had a clear focus.

Good strategic planning, strong leadership and a shared core purpose between staff, pupils and parents, were also identified by the school inspection body.

Pupil behaviour, heavily criticised last year, has changed from unsatisfactory to good.

Meanwhile, standards have risen across all key stages.

"Morale is excellent and there's a real buzz round the school," said Mrs Pryce.

"It's been a remarkable achievement."

A council spokesman added: "We are delighted that Newtown High School has been taken off the serious weakness list.

Classic case

"Congratulations must go to the staff, governors and pupils for their hard work over the last few months for this achievement."

The National Union of Teachers in Wales, which highlighted the poor standards at Newtown last year, said it was pleased.

"We are delighted by Estyn's report," said NUT Cymru's Rhys Williams.

"It justifies the action we took when we blew the whistle at Newtown High School.

"This is a classic case of identifying what's wrong and putting it right.

"We were concerned about the health and safety of our members at the school and we're now delighted it has been given a clean bill of health."

Former head teacher Dr Glyn Hughes resigned six months after the initial report in April last year. He had been on sick leave.

Brecon High School head teacher Colin Eves was brought in by the local education authority as a trouble-shooter to turn things around.

But last July the "superhead" took up a new post with the authority's advisory team, which meant he would stay at Newtown to oversee an action plan to try and sort out the school's problems.

However, Mr Eves was appointed head teacher at Ilfracombe College in North Devon in January.

'Superhead' to leave Newtown
11 Aug 03  |  Mid Wales
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26 Apr 03  |  Mid Wales
Problem school gets new head
24 Apr 03  |  Mid Wales

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