Temporary head to turn around Hethersett High School

Hethersett High headteacher Kerry Jordan.

Hethersett High headteacher Kerry Jordan. - Credit: Archant

A temporary headteacher has vowed to turn around a failing school after its leader went on long-term sick leave.

Hethersett High was last month branded 'inadequate', with inspectors noting a 'dramatic slump' in students' progress and attainment last year.

Now John Catton, a former headteacher and Ofsted inspector, has been brought into the school as consultant headteacher until head Kerry Jordan is well again.

The news comes as governors voted to become part of the Inspiration Trust cluster of schools to help take it forward as an academy.

Speaking to the Mercury, Mr Catton, who held a meeting for parents on Tuesday evening, said he intended to strengthen leadership and improve pupils' attainment and teaching standards.

'I've come in on an indefinite contract and as a consultant. It's clearly short-term so I'm really here to stabilise the school and work with governors and staff and pupils and parents and the wider community to ensure the school moves forward fast from its special measures judgement,' he said.

Mr Catton said the school's best teachers would be working with others to help improve their standards, and that Hethersett High would work in partnership with other schools to share best practice.

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'My view is that this school has strengths and we should very quickly improve our status and I'm very confident that will happen within 12 months,' he added. 'The wheels are moving very fast and so they should because the young people who are here today deserve the best.'

Speaking about his appointment, he went on: 'I will be at the school until one of three things happens – if the substantive headteacher returns it is likely I would go; should the school become an academy it's likely I would go, or if the governors aren't happy with my performance, it's likely I would go.'

It is the second time the school has been forced to appoint a temporary leader because principal Kerry Jordan, who took over as head in 2009, was absent. The school was one of 28 visited by Ofsted in March during a week of targeted inspections.

Hethersett slipped from 'good' in 2007 to 'satisfactory' in 2010, and is now 'inadequate' after inspectors said leaders and managers had failed to tackle weaknesses identified in the previous inspection.

Chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, Rachel De Souza, said she was 'delighted' to be working with the school.

'Obviously we are waiting for ministerial approval, but I personally believe that Hethersett should be an outstanding school,' she said. 'It has fantastic students and many talented teachers and we are very much looking forward to working with parents, teachers and students to get Hethersett back to the place where it should be.'