A HEADTEACHER has been highly praised by Ofsted for turning the fortunes of her school around in just a year.

Alison Blant and her senior team at Pitsea Junior School in High Road have worked hard to improve the school which was rated as inadequate and was given a notice to improve in 2011.

Now after a year of hard graft which has seen new teachers come in and better monitoring of pupil’s attainment Alison and her staff are celebrating after the school was rated good.

The report said: “The headteacher and her senior team have high expectations of staff and pupils. The headteacher’s drive and ambition have been key factors in the rapid progress pupils are making.

“Pupils behave well and say they feel safe and ‘love it here’. Parents recognise the great deal of attention the staff give to caring for pupils and attendance is high.”

Alison, 55, who has been headteacher of the school for 12 years, said: “When we were given the notice to improve it was gutting because the school was going through a bit of a hard time.

“We had some staff off ill and some go to new jobs at the same time and our deputy headteacher left to go to another job. Once we had our new staff in place we began working on changes like better monitoring the attainment of the children.

“Our attitude has always been the same and when we were given the notice to improve we worked hard to get ourselves back to a good rating. “We have quite a stoic attitude here- even when we know we are doing well we are always looking to do better, we have never been a school to sit back and celebrate.

“We are always looking for ways to improve and we have a wealth of after school clubs where the children can stretch themselves doing things like pottery and art and learning to play guitair and keyboards.

Basildon is a challenging borough to work in and we never sat back and felt down about the report, we just all pulled together to make sure we did better next time. This Ofsted report is like the icing on the cake for all the hard work we have done.”

The report added: “In one third of lessons outstanding teaching led to the pupils making progress. “All pupils make good progress from their different starting points because teachers have high expectations of what pupils need to learn.

“Where teaching is outstanding pupils make rapid progress because question and answer sessions require the pupils to think carefully whilst effectively guiding the quality of their work.”

The inspectors said to further improve the school pupils needed to work on their handwriting in Years 3 and 4 and involve the pupils more discussions and teaching them how to work by themselves.