THE new headteacher at an ‘inadequate’ school says parents should take a fresh look at it.

Lyndsey Caldwell was appointed as head at St Gregory the Great Catholic School at Easter with the new academic year signalling the beginning of her role.

St Gregory’s was first rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, and placed in special measures, back in 2017.

Ms Caldwell joins the Cricket Road school after 17 years at The Cherwell School, and was most recently assistant headteacher there.

Oxford Mail: Lyndsey Caldwell has taken over as headteacher at St Gregory the Great Catholic School. Picture: Liam RiceLyndsey Caldwell has taken over as headteacher at St Gregory the Great Catholic School. Picture: Liam Rice

She said: “It’s really clear when you visit that all the students and staff are dedicated to the school, students are working really hard and teachers are committed to teaching.

“I want to champion each and every student – it’s not just about them being successful in their lessons but their character education as well.”

St Gregory’s will be holding open days in October and December, and Ms Caldwell says parents should visit the school on those days.

She said: “I’d encourage anyone to look around and get a fresh look. If you’ve got young children, I’d certainly encourage parents to take a fresh look at the school.”

The results of an Ofsted monitoring visit were published last June, and although not a full inspection, it was the first check-up since the school was rated inadequate in October 2019.

The visit, in March of last year, found that leaders and managers at the school were ‘taking effective action towards the removal of special measures’.

Meanwhile, last year, St Frideswide Primary School replaced the primary phase of St Gregory’s, with different trusts now overseeing both schools.

Ms Caldwell, who trained at The Cherwell, said: “We’re definitely at an exciting time in the school’s development and it’s certainly been on a journey.

“A lot has changed in the past couple of years and for me, it’s making sure those changes are embedded.

“The priorities are the same in any school – teaching and behaviour.”

Ms Caldwell reflected on her first days at St Gregory’s, praising the school’s staff.

She said: “It’s been so good, there’s a lot of staff that have been here a long time and travel a long way to be here.

“I think working in a school is the one of the best jobs in the community.

“Children are brilliant and being involved in their lives while they’re growing is something I feel really privileged to be a part of.

“There’s a humanity and kindness in teaching, and knowing students as they grow is fun.”

Working in the industry she cares passionately about has been challenging for Ms Caldwell during the pandemic, but she hopes this academic year can be a return to normality for schools.

“Education has been disrupted after going to online lessons, so this academic year is especially important,” she said.

“There’s a lot of expertise here if we have to go back to doing that but I really hope we don’t get to that.

“I do think schools have adapted to the circumstances really well.”