Wisbech school undergoing £6.6 million redevelopment placed in special measures

A Wisbech school that is undergoing a £6.6 million redevelopment has been placed in special measures

A Wisbech school that is undergoing a £6.6 million redevelopment has been placed in special measures due to poor leadership. Picture: ARCHANT. - Credit: Archant

A Wisbech school that is undergoing a £6.6 million redevelopment has been placed in special measures due to ‘poor leadership’.

Ramnoth Junior School was slammed by Ofsted for "weak progress and performance" being labelled as 'inadequate' across all areas in their latest inspection.

The report highlights the failure of the school's leaders, governors and trust to take effective action to "stem a decline in standards".

It depicts a stark contrast from just three years ago when it was ranked as 'good'.

Education bosses vow to turn the school around, after saying they have "done it once before and will do it again".

It comes as work is underway on a £6.6 million project to redevelop the school to move from a two form entry to three - allowing up to 630 pupils to be accommodated in 12 new classrooms.

However, inspectors noted a raft of failings over the past three years, with the local governing body recently disbanding owing to "significant weaknesses".

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Tracy Fielding, lead inspector, said: "Leaders and the trust have been too slow, for too long, to take action to halt the decline in standards.

"Although this has been compounded by the school's growth, including a new build, changes of staff, difficulties in recruitment and a reliance on temporary staff arrangements, the current quality of leadership and management is fragile and somewhat fragmented."

It was also highlighted that leaders do not ensure that additional funds for disadvantaged pupils and pupils with special educational needs are used effectively, resulting in low outcomes.

The school has been part of the Elliot Foundation Academy since 2013.

"Expectations of what pupils should achieve are frequently too low, and weak progress and performance too often go unchallenged," Ms Fielding continued.

"Trustees and the local governing body have not acted swiftly enough to halt a significant decline in the quality of education and standards since the previous inspection."

The report lists actions needed for the school to improve including effectiveness of leadership, management and governance and to bring about "sustained improvement in the quality of leadership, teaching, learning and assessment and subsequently, pupils' progress."

Staff training and a review of the curriculum to develop "greater knowledge that meets the needs of pupils" was also suggested.

Hugh Greenway, chief executive of the Elliot Foundation Academy, said: "When Ramnoth Junior School joined us in 2013 it was in special measures.

"With support from schools across the trust, Ramnoth improved rapidly and was judged good at its next inspection.

"Over the same period we have overseen a complete rebuild of the school.

"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."

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