Future looking bright for once-failing school

PUBLISHED: 10:04 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:14 22 July 2010

A ONCE-failing school whose problems were exposed in a TV documentary in 2000 is celebrating a glowing Ofsted report.

A ONCE-failing school whose problems were exposed in a TV documentary in 2000 is celebrating a glowing Ofsted report.

Eight years ago the BBC documentary "Heads On The Block" revealed racial tensions, fighting and classes being sent home because of incomplete building work at Islington Arts and Media School (IAMS)

in Turle Road, Finsbury Park.

Timetables were not even being drawn up for teachers, and just six per cent of pupils obtained five A to C grades at GCSE level that year.

Things were so bad the "super-head" resigned after six months, but Richard Ewen took over and has transformed the school.

Last year the number of pupils achieving five or more grade A* to Cs rose to 27 per cent, and Ofsted inspectors have described it as "a good and rapidly improving school with outstanding features."

They judged the school as "good" overall and the areas of "care, guidance and support" and "curriculum" were rated as "outstanding".

The inspectors noted that the school has made real progress between inspections, largely to the "inspirational leadership of the head teacher and his very able and committed senior team."

The quality of teaching in general was praised, with performing arts, mathematics and information and communication technology noted as being subjects that pupils attained particularly well in.

Headteacher Richard Ewen said: "We are delighted that this latest Ofsted report recognises the school's improvements, achievements and determination."

He added: "We still need to focus on raising literacy levels. But this is a real boost for the teachers, students, governors and parents who have worked so hard over the last year.

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