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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 11:42 GMT
School bans nickname to improve
Catherine Britton and Blessed Edward Jones pupils
The head wants the school out of special measures this year

The head teacher of a once-failing school has introduced formal uniforms and banned the school's nickname in a bid to improve standards.

Catherine Britton, interim head of Blessed Edward Jones Catholic High School in Rhyl, Denbighshire, no longer wants it referred to as "Blessed Ted".

Pupils now wear shirts and ties in place of casual sweatshirts, which Ms Britton described as "sloppy".

She said: "We're leaving the past behind and going forward."

The new uniforms were introduced Monday, and Ms Britton said there had already been a marked improvement.

We are 'Teds' no longer, we are proud to be Blessed Edward Jones Catholic High
Catherine Britton, acting head

"We're looking to lift the perception of the school within the community, and it's working," she said.

"People are already walking past and saying how wonderful the pupils look. And they themselves are holding their heads up high - they look the biz."

The school has been affectionately known as "Blessed Ted" in the local community for years.

'Proud'

Ms Britton said: "It's not so much patronising as a term of affection and I realise the school has been known as Blessed Ted for a long time.

"But I have told the pupils they should be proud of our name.

"We begin 2008 with a new look, new attitude, new uniform and new determination and most importantly a new name, or renewal of our old name.

"We are 'Teds' no longer, we are proud to be Blessed Edward Jones Catholic High."

Last year, Denbighshire councillors voted to give extra financial support to the school which was placed on special measures after an inspection in 2006.

Improving

Inspectors said the performance of the school was "declining" in comparison to other schools, and teaching in some areas was also criticised in the Estyn report.

However, Ms Britton said an Estyn visit in December 2007 had praised the school for showing "signs of continuing improvement", and she hoped the school would be out of special measures within the year.

She said: "We know this school is turning around but it was lovely to have the inspectors recognise that and give us positive feedback on all the good things that are happening here.

"Our task is to see to it that Blessed Edward Jones is not only out of special measures but it is recognised as one of the most improved schools before the year is out."

Last September, school standards in the county were severely criticised in an Estyn report which led to the ousting of former council leader Rhiannon Hughes.

Last month, the council submitted a 700,000 action plan to the Welsh Assembly Government and Estyn in which it detailed its vision to improve standards.



SEE ALSO
Extra cash for 'declining' school
22 May 07 |  North East Wales

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