New head aims to inspire a love of learning at Grove primary school

New head Jane Ratcliffe talks to Wantage MP Ed Vaizey

New head Jane Ratcliffe talks to Wantage MP Ed Vaizey

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

THE new headteacher at a Grove primary school says she will steer it out of special measures by getting children to love learning.

And she says there is no reason it will not be rated excellent within a year.

Jane Ratcliffe plans to use long-term topics to teach Millbrook School pupils about maths, English and science.

They have already used the local Letcombe Brook to learn about rivers and made sweet treat ‘rocky road’, with chocolate and marshmallows, to learn about mountains.

Mrs Ratcliffe, a mum-of-two who lives in Wantage, said: “I like using a topic-based curriculum to make learning fun.

“I really like topics that end with a real product, so when I walk into a classroom and ask ‘why are you doing that?’ they say they are making a film or writing a script.

“I want children running into school at the beginning of every day.”

Mrs Ratcliffe joined the 445-pupil school last month after four years as head of Wallingford’s St John’s Primary because, she said, she wanted a challenge.

Millbrook failed an Ofsted inspection in April 2012 and was put into special measures last April after a second inspection rated it “inadequate”.

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Since then, 12 members of staff have left and the school has had two interim headteachers.

Mrs Ratcliffe said: “That is not good for any school, but I am here to stay.

“Millbrook has every reason to be a really excellent school, it just needs strong leadership and clear decision making.

“There is no reason this school won’t be excellent within a year.”

Wantage MP Ed Vaizey visited the school on Friday to meet Mrs Ratcliffe, and praised her work so far.

He said: “I was really pleased to be able to visit Millbrook School and to see the renewed sense of confidence and optimism in both the staff and the absolutely delightful pupils.

“I think, under the leadership of the new headteacher and very experienced chairman of the interim executive board, the school is being steered on a steady course towards being outstanding in every sense of the word.”

Copies of the report can be found here:

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