Meet The Mandeville’s new head – who is on a mission to turn the troubled school around through teamwork, consistency and positivity.
Andria Hanham took over at the Southcourt school last week, and had her work cut out just two days in.
As she was preparing for another day of getting to know her staff and pupils, Ofsted called and gave the school half a day’s notice of a full inspection.
The school is currently in special measures, and while the results of the latest inspection are not yet known, inspectors said previously that improvements were made under interim head Richard Woods, who Mrs Hanham succeeds.
But there is still work to do, and Mrs Hanham says she is determined not to rest until there are better outcomes for all of the school’s 940 pupils.
She said: “I knew when I took this job that there were some challenges because of the instability before.
“I came into this job with my eyes open and I want to give this my best shot to make it work.
“It is all about working with staff, students and communicating with the parents about what we are doing.”
Mrs Hanham takes over at the helm after an 11-year stint at Sir Henry Floyd School.
While at the grammar school she served as head of sixth form, and later deputy head.
For 20 years prior to that she was a teacher in comprehensive schools, and taught children in Tunisia and Hungary.
Speaking about the unannounced Ofsted visit Mrs Hanham said: “Well I wasn’t going to run off home and say ‘I’m off,’ it was about rolling my sleeves up and making most of our students and staff.
“We have got some brilliant kids, they want to work and we have some incredibly loyal staff.”
She added: “On a positive note, the Ofsted enabled me to see how the school pulled together in challenging circumstances. We have been under scrutiny now for two years now, but but people will have been worried about how the new principal was going to respond to this.
“But, with the support of students, staff and parents working with their children at home we have got through the inspection.”
And speaking about what the school needs to continue its recovery Mrs Hanham added: “It needs consistency of approach, everyone pulling in one direction.
“It needs its principal and leaders in school to be clear about what we need to do. We need to make the most of what we have and these green shoots that are there.
“We need to make sure they continue to grow.”
Mrs Hanham says that her appointment at the school represents a change of outlook, and her role is permanent. She is the school’s fifth headteacher in little over two years.
She said: “It is not about doubting any more, it’s about saying ‘we can do it’.”