New head confident her Hastings academies will improve

Jane Fletcher with students at ARK William Parker Academy
Jane Fletcher with students at ARK William Parker Academy
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A new regional director is confident she can help improve two academies in Hastings after criticism by Ofsted following her appointment to oversee them.

Inspectors have acknowledged William Parker Academy and Helenswood Academy, in Hastings, have been making progress – and now Jane Fletcher has shared her intention to take them to the top.

ARK William Parker Academy.
Jane Fletcher SUS-160920-151827001

ARK William Parker Academy. Jane Fletcher SUS-160920-151827001

Only a couple of weeks into her new appointment, Jane said: “We’re working really, really hard to make these schools outstanding as rapidly as we can.

“That’s our focus – we don’t want anything less than that.”

As well as being named regional director, Jane will serve as executive head at William Parker, until a permanent appointment is made.

She said: “We have started the recruitment process and have spoken to several strong candidates. We need to make sure we get the right person.

“We hope to have some one in place in January.”

Jane joined the Ark family from the Harris Girls’ Academy, in East Dulwich.

She served as headteacher and executive headteacher during her eight years at the school – taking it from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘outstanding’ in that time.

She is also a serving Ofsted inspector – one of the team that rated Helenswood ‘requires improvement’ following a two-day inspection in July 2015.

So her declaration that “I do know exactly what it takes to take a school through to ‘outstanding’” can be taken seriously.

Jane said she and her team were feeling “really confident” about meeting the requirements set down by Ofsted.

At Helenswood they were the need to further improve the progress being made by disadvantaged pupils, and the need to continue improving teaching.

At William Parker, the requirements were to establish a clear vision for the academy’s future and its place in the education provision in Hastings, and to ensure a wide range of improvement work.

Ark has schools in London, Birmingham and Portsmouth and Jane said their support would be “really beneficial”.

She added: “I am really aware the community has a lot invested in these schools and, for me, that’s a really good thing, that the community is so interested.

“I really want to listen to them and work with them and take the school forward.”

A spokesman for Ark said of Jane: “She’s an experienced principal who has already led the transformation of several schools in her career and we are excited to have her expertise and leadership in our schools.”

An open day will be held at William Parker Academy lower school, Park Avenue, on September 29, from 6-9pm.

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