Principal’s mission to revive failing school

PRINCIPAL Sarah Gregory, who has previously helped transform another failing school, has spelled out her vision for reviving Copley Academy.

Mrs Gregory was part of the team that took Levenhulme High School for Girls in Manchester from ‘special measures’ to ‘outstanding’ in three years.

Mrs Gregory with some of the Copley Academy pupils

Following the recent Ofsted report placing Copley Academy in special measures, “Yes we can, and we must!” is the new mantra for the school, with the battle-cry being led by Mrs Gregory.

The report, which is based on a visit in October 2018, has recognised historical shortcomings and the ongoing impact of these, but also makes clear there is a clear vision for the school moving forward.

With 25 years of experience Mrs Gregory, who took up the post in January, certainly has the knowledge and skills to lead Copley Academy from the front.

She said: “I am absolutely committed to ensuring Copley Academy becomes a school where every young person it serves gains the skills and qualifications they need to move forward confidently and responsibly into adult life.

“We believe in equity of opportunity and know we have a uniquely important job to do in terms of raising the aspirations of our students as well as ensuring they all fulfil their potential.

“This is a huge responsibility and one we will meet head on over the weeks, months and years to come.

“We have a lot of hard work ahead but are already making gains.

“In the 11 months since I arrived at Copley, and with the support of the Great Academies Education Trust, staff have benefitted from bespoke training to improve the teaching and learning experience in every classroom – something recognised as a positive development by the visiting inspectors.

“Students have been involved in developing new attitude to learning criteria that support and encourage them to actively participate, self-manage, learn from their mistakes and build their own resilience when it comes to learning within and beyond the classroom – after all, better never stops.

“Parents have also been actively recruited into our newly formed Parents and Friends of Copley forum enabling them to have a more active voice as we move forward together.”

Copley Academy is also growing when it comes to the broader school life.

Mrs Gregory explained: “Whether within the school walls or as part of the Stalybridge community, everything we do is underpinned by our GREAT values of genuine, respect, excellence, achievement and together.

“These sit at the heart of every interaction we have and underpin our rewards system, the work of our newly created student leadership team and our many and varied community activities and charitable events.

“Within the landscape of the Ofsted outcome, it was fantastic the inspectors recognised and reported that every member of our school community understand what is expected of them as this means we have the strongest possible start point to becoming a new Copley.”

As principal of a school located in the heart of Stalybridge, Mrs Gregory’s passion for her students and belief in their potential is clear.

She continued: “We will send our young people out into the wider world rich in not one but two currencies.

“Not only will they have the qualifications they need for their next steps but they will also be well rounded, empathetic, enthusiastic and positive individuals that believe they can make a difference for themselves and for others.”

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