AN ACTING headteacher has reassured parents that there is a ‘positive atmosphere’ at a troubled school.

Mark Bradshaw has taken over the reins at Blackburn’s Pleckgate High School after the decision of head Cherry Ridgway to take extended personal leave.

Ms Ridgway’s departure came after Ofsted gave the school its lowest rating of Inadequate, placing it in special measures.

Mr Bradshaw has been a teacher for 23 years, with the last seven at Pleckgate. His role at the school began firstly as assistant head and he was appointed deputy head in 2009.

He said: “There seems to be a positive atmosphere and everyone is committed to moving the school forward.

“We were disappointed with the outcome of the Ofsted report. However we are, and were prior to the report, aware of the areas that need improvement and what we need to do. We have got to make sure everything we do is in the best possible interests of the students and that they are in a safe and happy environment.

"It is very clear that, although there have been problems recently, as a school we are a strong community . We are pulling together and are working our hardest to ensure the students get the best possible education provision and chances that they can.

“Ultimately it is about them and about us all working together to move the school forward. We need to make sure that parents know what we are about and where we want to go. We need to involve them and take them with us on the journey. It is about all of us going in the same direction.”

An interim executive board has also replaced the school’s former governing body. Although the Ofsted report highlighted serious weaknesses, Mr Bradshaw stressed the school also had a lot of strengths.