What does it take to turn a school around - Radio 4 finds out

BBC Radio 4's The Educators went to meet the two new headteachers of one of Ark's secondary schools in Birmingham for a special programme on the challenges of turning a school around.  

Golden Hillock School re-opened in September with new leadership, and became Ark Boulton Academy. Now, principals David Gould and Herminder Channa plan to take the school out of special measures and introduce higher expectations for students, staff and parents.

Their promise to students is that they will learn everything they need to go on to university or a career of their choice, but it will require focus, discipline and hard work from students, staff and parents.The presenter Sarah Montague described the behaviour at the school as "phenomenal" and one student commented that "the teaching is much better". 

Also in the programme, David Gould who was the principal of Ark St Alban's Academy for sixteen years, talks about how St Alban's has gone from being one of the worst to one of the best schools in the country. 

Becky Francis, Professor of Education at King's College London and an expert on academies also discusses what makes certain academy groups perform "absolutely outstandingly" particularly for students who are economically disadvantaged or previously low attainers. 

You can listen to the programme here (via BBC iplayer).