A faith school in “special measures” held a community assembly yesterday to celebrate the strides being made under its new leadership.
St Alban’s RC Primary School welcomed back former pupil, Cardiff Blues rugby star Dan Fish, to mark the occasion with pupils, parents and parishioners.
The school in Tremorfa, Cardiff, has endured a torrid couple of years during which inspectors uncovered “systemic failures” in leadership and management.
Current performance and prospects for improvement at St Alban’s were deemed “unsatisfactory” and the school was subject to four staff suspensions.
It became the first in Wales to require an interim executive board (IEB) and a parental campaign to resolve issues at the school led to an unprecedented meeting at Archbishop’s House.
But it has turned the corner and under the stewardship of “inspirational” headteacher Angela Satterly, pupil performance has improved significantly.
Measures taken to revive the school’s fortunes are working and education watchdog Estyn says there are now “effective strategies” in place to raise standards in reading, writing and numeracy.
Dr Martin Price, chairman of the IEB, said it seemed appropriate to acknowledge the achievements of pupils over the last 12 months.
“The assembly was an opportunity for the archdiocese, the IEB and the council to assure parents that things are going in the right way,” he said.
“It’s a long job to get minds and hearts of people to feel that it’s working. But what we’ve tried to demonstrate is that while we’re not out of the woods yet, we’re heading in the right direction.”
Dr Price said all disciplinary procedures had been completed and the school was now running to a full quota of staff.
Mrs Satterly has been appointed on a permanent basis, having joined from All Saints last September, and the school’s old leadership team had left.
Dr Price said the appointment addressed one of the few remaining areas for improvement earmarked by Estyn, which will return to the school for a monitoring visit on July 2.
“Mrs Satterly has transformed standards and the data we’ll be presenting to Estyn is, according to the council, as good as the best 95% of schools in Wales,” he said.
“She is an inspirational leader who has managed to motivate the staff to motivate the children. The school is a haven of safety and is providing a very good education.”
Dr Price said he was hopeful of pulling out of special measures in the autumn term and moving from an IEB to a regular governing body within six to nine months.