New head vows to transform school

Vastly experienced Patrick Ferguson is the new headteacher of troubled Hope Academy
Vastly experienced Patrick Ferguson is the new headteacher of troubled Hope Academy

Meet Patrick Ferguson - the man charged with turning around troubled Hope Academy.

The vastly experienced headteacher admits the Newton-le-Willows school has gone through “a tricky period” but reckons it is already on the fast-track to success.

Mr Ferguson, also the executive principal at De La Salle Academy and Our Lady and St Swithin’s in Liverpool, was brought in following consecutive unflattering Ofsted reports but thinks the school would be rated “good” if watchdogs visited now.

He said: “People have worked very hard since the second inspection hit the desk to deal with any shortcomings. I think it’s turned the school around very quickly.

“If the inspectors came in today I think they would grade us at least ‘good’. They may not jump to that grade straight away because they work in a particular way but in my opinion behaviour, attendance, leadership and curriculum organisation are all working very well indeed.

“It’s a great place to work and a great place to come as a student - I feel privileged to be here.”

Mr Ferguson explained that he would employ an “appropriate level of scrutiny” to ensure that teachers and pupils were keeping up to speed, and that holding staff to account was key to the school’s improvement.

He also vowed that results would improve this year.

“My brief, very clearly, is to make this school ‘outstanding’,” he said.

“In 12 months inspectors will see a transformed academy - there’s no doubt about that. A lot of changes have already been made too so it’s not as if we are going from a standing start.

“I now expect the number of students choosing Hope Academy to rise, the number of students staying on in the sixth form to rise and the number of students involved in extra-curriculur activities to rise.”

Mr Ferguson added: “There is an enormous reservoir of parental support, but they don’t want second best. If we can create an environment where standards are as high as they can be, we will reach our goal.”