THE new principal at a struggling Andover academy admits the school deserves to be in special measures – but has vowed to “turn things around.”

Nathan Thomas took the reins at Winton Community Academy at the start of the autumn term, becoming the school’s third headteacher in as many years.

But the 39-year-old, who previously spent three years in charge of a secondary school on the Isle of Wight, is determined to provide the stability the school needs – and has set out his blueprint to improve its fortunes, which he believes is already taking effect.

Mr Thomas said: “The school is in special measures, has had three heads in as many years and the results in the summer were below the government’s floor standard.

“Because of the position the academy was in 12 months ago it was fair that Winton went into special measures.

“However, the focus is now on what matters – the quality of teaching in every classroom.

“The school is already a very different one to the school that Ofsted visited.

“The students are the politest and most courteous children I have ever worked with, the staff are determined to get the school to ‘good’ by September next year, which will mean the academy is improving every day.”

Mr Thomas, himself a father of two, has already set up a new parent council to allow families to work closer with teachers at the school.

The group will meet once a month to discuss a wide range of issues relating to academy life as he strives to transform its image.

Mr Thomas added: “Winton may have been written off by parents in the past as a bad school, but I would urge parents to come and visit us, hear our vision, meet the staff and students and see what we have to offer.

“I would not have joined the academy if I did not feel that there was massive potential to turn things around rapidly.”