Thurnby Lodge Primary head teacher Cleo Adediran returns to her roots
For head teacher Cleo Adediran it was something of a homecoming to take up the post at Thurnby Lodge Primary. She grew up with family in the area and recalls spending many an hour at her grandmother's on the nearby Leicester estate.
It was one of the many reasons she applied to take on the job last year – that and the welcoming atmosphere of teachers and pupils, she said.
"It can take some time to settle into a school but after two days I felt like I was really at home. I love it here."
Mrs Adediran faced the unenviable task of steering the school through an Ofsted inspection just four weeks after becoming head teacher at the start of this academic year.
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But it's one she won't forget in a hurry after gaining Thurnby Lodge's first "good" rating from the education watchdog.
She said: "I knew that we might get inspected, but staff were more than ready and I'm happy that the good work they're doing has been recognised.
"This is a first step on our way to becoming outstanding."
It is clear Mrs Adediran has already made her mark on the school, where more than 50 per cent of pupils are from an ethnic minority background and many are transient, frequently changing schools.
"I wanted to brighten the place up and make the children proud to come here so we've transformed the walls and made sure their work is at the centre of it. Their faces light up when they see it being put up.
"We also had an artist come in and transform some walls into giant pictures which look stunning, and we've revamped a meeting room into a proper library space with art work and soft furniture.
"There are more books in there now and it's just a much better space for children to go and spend time reading or being read to."
A reward scheme has also been introduced, much to the delight of youngsters, who described how good it felt to be recognised for their deeds.
"They get points for good behaviour and work, as well as being courteous and polite or helping others, and then it counts towards their house mark," said Mrs Adediran.
"I've made sure that they get real rewards for it too so that they can enjoy some treats if they have earned it."
Treats can range from special play day activities to days out of school for the winning house each term. There are also amber and red light cards for those who haven't earned any points and need to think about how they could earn some.
"When the scheme first started I had an influx of red and amber cards on my desk, but now I'm lucky if I see one a week.
"It's provided some real structure for them and they have really risen to it in the way I hoped," said Mrs Adediran. The school has organised a maths curriculum evening so that parents can go in and see what their children are learning and how they can help at home.
Melanie Miles, assistant head teacher, said: "It's an informal event, but it's also helpful.
"We want parents to take an active part in their children's learning and this is one way of doing that. We've already done a lot of work around this subject, in terms of professional development for teachers and how best to teach the children.
"We've also changed the curriculum to make it more relevant and fun. It's not just about getting worksheets and going through them or dry text books. I think it's already making a difference.
"There are also lots of trips being organised to give pupils a wider experience of the world around them, both in the city and elsewhere.
"They've been to see A Midsummer Night's Dream, visited the House of Commons, taken part in drumming workshops and put on their own performances.
"It's about raising their aspirations and showing them what can be achieved."