WHEN HARRIS Academy head Chris Tomlinson announced that he was going to be executive head of Eltham Foundation School, there were a few doubters.
“Improving a school in Chafford Hundred is one thing, Eltham is another challenge entirely” mused one senior education head.
But anyone who knows Mr Tomlinson and his team will know that they are absolutely determined to improve educational standards wherever they are.
So it was a delight to reprint this article from the newshopper.co.uk in Eltham.
“A SCHOOL put in special measures less than two years ago aims to be officially labelled ‘outstanding’ by 2014.
Eltham Foundation School came out of special measures last month in what executive headteacher Chris Tomlinson called “record-breaking time”.
But its sights are aimed higher, expecting further improvements this summer when it becomes an academy run by the renowned Harris Federation – which has put in a £15m government bid for a new building.
Already head at Chafford Hundred School in Essex, Dr Tomlinson was appointed by the Department for Education along with head of school George McMillan last January following a disastrous Ofsted inspection the previous November.
Blaming that poor achievement on leadership failure, Mr Tomlinson said tightening up on student behaviour had improved things.
He said: “The school has become a lot stricter. There are clearer boundaries.”
Mr Tomlinson admitted there was a big staff turnover, but said: “That was the right thing.
“We needed an injection of new, fresh people and ideas.
“But there’s been a good core of staff that have stayed and done a fantastic job in the school.”
And he says the whole culture has been changed, including getting parents more involved.
He said: “There’s some fantastic students at this school.
“They’re a credit to the community and are really now developing a pride in their school.
“They’re a pleasure to work with really.”
This summer they are expecting 65 per cent A* to C grades at GCSE including English and Maths, up from 49 per cent last year and a vast improvement on previous figures for the school, which hovered around 30 per cent.
Mr Tomlinson expects this success to continue, with a further bump in grades to 75 per cent next year, by which time it will be a specialist sports, enterprise and communication college.
He said: “We want to be rated outstanding within two years.”
And he claimed the change to academy status wouldn’t stop the school serving the community and would allow staff to be employed on better terms and conditions than previously.
Children from across Greenwich can hear all about the plans on April 18. Tours of the accademy site are being given between 9.30am and 12.30pm with an open evening starting at 6pm.