A HEADTEACHER praised for helping turn around a failing school says she is “enjoying the biggest challenge of her career”.

Emma Lane took over as executive headteacher at Leigh Beck Infant School and Nursery, Canvey, following a December inspection that rated the school as inadequate.

The school, in Point Road, went from outstanding to inadequate in only three years and was told it had “drastically declined” in December.

Now, in the first monitoring inspection since being put into special measures, inspectors say the headteacher has taken “immediate and highly effective action to improve teaching and pupils’ achievement”.

Mrs Lane has been the headteacher at Northwick Park Primary and Nursery, in Canvey, for almost 24 years and says she has been been very impressed at Leigh Beck’s progress.

She added: “Everyone has been working incredibly hard to get the school out of special measures as soon as possible.

“I have been overwhelmed at the staff and pupils’ attitudes towardsmaking the school a better place.

“I have brought some of the excellent teachers from Northwick to support the teachers already in place and I am confident we will be able to continue improving as the weeks go on.

“The children’s behaviour was something of a concern in the last report so we have been focusing on that and have individual assessments on each pupil, aiming to improve their reading and writing.”

Mrs Lane said she was enjoying working with deputy headteacher Helen Greensill.

Inspectors previously highlighted the “strained relationship”

between Mrs Greensill and former headteacher Gill Chapman as having a negative impact on the school.

Lead inspector Julie Winyard said the school had also shown improvements in teachers’ marking and pupil assessment.

After the school was placed into special measures, Mrs Chapman left and another teacher and a teaching assistant have resigned. The chairman and vice-chairman of the governors also resigned.

The news that the school is improving comes only a week after Leigh Beck Junior School was told it “required improvement” after losing its “good” grading.