chapter  7
21 Pages

Haywood High School

WithValerie Hannon

In Success against the Odds (1996), Michael Barber and his colleagues summed up their chapter on Haywood High School with the following words:

Were they right? The recent history of the school may for convenience be divided

into three phases. In the decade leading up to 1989, low numbers and other problems led to an amalgamation which in itself was traumatic and left the school at a low ebb. The reputation of the school had fallen dramatically, in part as a result of poor pupil behaviour and truancy connected to low staff morale. Instead of its

standard number of 180, the school managed to recruit only 100 students, and the year group entered the school with very poor levels of literacy and minimal parental support. In 1989 a new headteacher, Yvonne Jeffries, was appointed. She led a school improvement strategy with tangible and remarkable results, and it was this strategy, over 1989-95, upon which the previous Success against the Odds chapter reported. At that time, when asked to reflect upon the school’s achievements in terms of exam success, and whether the results would be better in 1995, the head replied: ‘They have to be’. The third phase, 1995-2000, has seen the completion of Yvonne Jeffries’ tenure of leadership of the school with her retirement. It is an appropriate moment to reflect upon the questions central to this volume. Has improvement been sustained? If so, how has this been achieved over this length of time, and can the school now be said to be a successful school?