Academy running Wisbech school warned of ‘notice of termination’ unless rapid improvement follows ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating

Part of a £5.8m re development of Ramnonth school. The trust that runs it has, however, been warned

Part of a £5.8m re development of Ramnonth school. The trust that runs it has, however, been warned standards must improve. Picture; R G CARTER - Credit: Archant

An academy trust running a Wisbech school was put on warning by the Department of Education that it could be sacked following an Ofsted inspection earlier this year.

The stark threat to the Elliot Foundation followed the Ofsted report in May that judged Ramnoth Junior School to be inadequate and requires special measures.

In a letter written shortly afterwards - but only now published - the regional schools commission for the east of England Sue Baldwin outlined her fears.

She wrote: "Of serious concern were Ofsted's conclusions that leaders and the trust have been too slow to take action to halt the decline in standards and the current quality of leadership and management is fragile and fragmented."

She said: "Most leaders are unclear about the extent and impact of their role, this hinders them from taking effective action to improve outcomes and a significant number of staff feel their contribution to school improvement is not heard."

Ms Baldwin said that many of those tasked with running the school were "over generous" in their own assessment of Ramnoth's overall effectiveness and the quality of leadership, learning and teaching.

She said there had been a failure to hold teachers appropriately to account for pupils' progress "and expectations of what pupils should achieve are frequently too low and weak progress and performance too often goes unchallenged".

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The schools commissioner felt the curriculum at Ramnoth was too narrow and pupils did not access a breadth and depth of knowledge and skills in different subjects.

"As regional schools commissioner, I must be satisfied that the academy can achieve rapid and sustained improvement," she told the Elliot Foundation.

"If I am not satisfied that this can be achieved I will consider a notice of termination."

Elliott Foundation chief executive was not available for comment but earlier this week told The Times Education Supplement that they had turned the school's fortunes around before and would do so again.

He told The Times:" While I deeply regret that standards have slipped unacceptably, we will be held to account by the regional schools commissioner for the rapid improvement of our overall provision to Ramnoth children and their families or face the termination of our involvement with the school.

"We have turned this school around once before, we will do it again. This time it will be sustainable."