Shaking off the old as Daventry school undergoes transformation

Ellie Heron and Molly Brown, both in Year Six, and headteacher Dan Sutton in one of the redecorated areas.
Ellie Heron and Molly Brown, both in Year Six, and headteacher Dan Sutton in one of the redecorated areas.

A school in Daventry has undergone a remarkable transformation, and opened its doors to parents and the public to show off the changes.

The Abbey Academy welcomed in visitors, with Year Six pupils showing them around the school.

New facilities include a computer suite, music area, new tables and chairs in communal areas. Most of the communal areas have also been redecorated, along with the reception. More work is in the pipeline too for the classrooms and outdoor areas.

In 2012 the Abbey Junior School, as it was then called, was put into special measures after an Ofsted inspection judged the school to be ‘inadequate’ in all areas. The school then went through a year of Ofsted visits every term, before converting to an academy at the end of 2013. The move lifted the school out of special measures and it has been working since then on continual improvement.

The school’s new headteacher Dan Sutton started full-time at the school at Easter, and the transformation work inside the building went on over just four weeks.

A key aspect of the renewal is to highlight pupils’ good work in order to reward them and inspire others.

Mr Sutton said: “The pride the children take in their school and their work is wonderful now. The children are amazed when they come in on a Monday and find something else has changed.

“The school was drab before – it wasn’t inspiring. Now it’s bright and new – it’s been transformed and the children love it. They take huge pride in the school now.

“A big part for the staff is recognising when a pupil does good work and displaying it so they can take pride in that as well. We also have new systems to recognise good behaviour, and help the children know what is expected.”

Measures include special recognition for good writing, a traffic lights system to encourage good behaviour, and house points.

Mr Sutton said: “It’s not just the children that benefit – the staff do as well. They get an amazing buzz off seeing the pupils doing well and enjoying learning, and in turn the pupils feed off that as well.

“The parents are part of the school too and the open day was to let them see the changes, and for us to celebrate it all as well.”