A HEADTEACHER has been praised for helping to transform a once struggling primary into one of the borough's best performing schools.

When Liz Barrett took over at Nightingale Primary School in 1997 she was shocked by what she found.

She had previously been a headteacher in Newham for 15 years, and expected Nightingale to be a comparatively aspirational middle class school, but arrived to find underachieving pupils, demoralised teachers and unhappy parents.

She immediately set about making radical changes at the school, in Ashbourne Avenue, South Woodford, bringing in ambitious, committed teachers and working closely with parents to improve standards - and her efforts have paid off, with Nightingale achieving an outstanding rating in its most recent Ofsted inspection.

She said: "When I arrived I couldn't believe what the school was like.

"It had only just passed it's last Ofsted, and it was a really unhappy place.

"There was no real sense of leadership and this had an effect on staff, parents and the children.

"After I arrived we got a satisfactory rating in our first inspection, and then a good rating in the second one before getting outstanding in our most recent inspection (in February this year)."

Ofsted inspectors were gushing in their appraisal of the school in its last report.

It read: "This is an outstanding school. Its success is highly evident in the praise voiced by the large majority of parents and in the enthusiasm demonstrated by the pupils.

"Pupils' basic skills are good and teachers' excellent behaviour management skills make sure that pupils work well in teams and cooperate well with each other."

Senior and middle managers at the school came in for special praise, with all of its teachers described as being 'highly aspirational.'

Mrs Barrett praised her staff for helping turn the school around.

She said: "One of the most important things has been to treat the teachers here with respect.

"They get a half day each week to plan lessons, which allows them to get the most out of their time with the children.

"The school has changed dramatically since I arrived here. It was mainly white in 1997 but most of our children are from ethnic minority backgrounds now.

"This will be my last Ofsted inspection as headteacher, so it's very pleasing to get such a good result."

To see the full report visit: ofsted.gov.uk