Fabulous Ferney Lee

Head teacher Helen Hannah with children at Ferney Lee Primary school, Todmorden.
Head teacher Helen Hannah with children at Ferney Lee Primary school, Todmorden.

An “inspirational” headteacher has become the first in Calderdale to receive an outstanding grade from Ofsted for her leadership.

Helen Hannah, headteacher at Ferney Lee Primary School, Todmorden, is the first to receive the top grade since Ofsted’s new framework was introduced last September.

She has been praised by inspectors for turning round the fortunes of the school, which has gone from being judged satisfactory in its previous inspection to being classed as good with outstanding features this time round.

“The headteacher is an inspirational leader who has driven significant improvement in teaching and pupils’ achievement since the last inspection,” the report said.

“The leadership and management of the school, including that of the governing body, are outstanding.

“Inspirational leadership from the headteacher and other senior leaders has led to consistently good teaching with some that is outstanding.

“The headteacher has quickly established a strong team spirit in the school.

“As one member of staff said: ‘We are all part of a very committed, hard-working team. There is a real buzz about the school.’”

During their visit, inspectors found a strong sense of community in a “happy school where pupils enjoy learning”.

The report said: “This is a harmonious school.

“As one parent said: ‘Children of all abilities, races and religions are valued and given the opportunity to shine.’

“Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is strong as a result of the rich and varied range of experiences provided by the school.

“All pupils matter at Ferney Lee School.”

Mrs Hannah was delighted with the report’s findings.

“To get Ofsted to come in and get the two outstanding grades is great,” she said.

“I just feel like all the hard work has paid off. It’s fabulous.

“I came in and the school had not done that well in the last Ofsted inspection and there were various issues.

“I kept telling the staff from very early on that this is a fabulous school.

“The difference in my leadership style is that I have allowed the staff, who were already very good, to be brilliant.

“They are absolutely passionate about what they do.”

Mrs Hannah hopes the report will create more interest in the school and boost its numbers.

“I want people to see this is a good option in the town,” she said.

She is aiming for oustanding ratings across the board next time Ofsted visits.

“I’m confident we can do that,” she said.