Runcton Holme Primary School goes into special measures

Runcton Holme Primary School. Picture: Ian Burt

Runcton Holme Primary School. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

A primary school has been placed in special measures after being rated inadequate in its first inspection since becoming an academy.

The decision was made after an Ofsted inspection found Runcton Holme Church of England Primary School was 'failing to provide an acceptable standard of education.'

The school was taken on by the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT) in 2014 and had its first inspection under the trust in October this year.

It was rated inadequate in a report published on Wednesday, December 13, which states there was a lack of leadership capacity in the school to make improvements.

Despite the trust providing teachers and leaders with training and support, this has had little effect due to staff absence and changes in leadership.

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Headteacher Emma Zeil, who took on the role in October, said the report was 'disappointing' but that issues raised by the inspector were already being addressed.

The report states that there was widespread underachievement in the school in 2016 and any efforts made by leaders, including governors and the trust, have had little impact - students continued to underachieve and their grades this year were equally low.

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It states Mrs Zeil, who also heads Wormegay Church of England Primary School near Tottenhill, has settled well in the school but does not have the leadership support to make improvements despite her efforts in prioritising plans to raise achievement.

In response to the report, Mrs Zeil said: 'We are all disappointed that the school has been rated as inadequate.

'However, we have already begun to address the issues raised by the Inspector and we are working collectively with our governors, our academy trust and the wider community to ensure that standards are raised quickly, and continue to rise - ensuring a high quality education for all the children who attend our school.'

But the Ofsted inspector praised the school's effort to promote pupils' personal development and welfare, noting that pupils behaved well and are taught how to keep safe, including online.

Andrew Read, chief executive of DEMAT, said: 'Clearly the trust is disappointed in this outcome, and will be working hard to address the specific areas identified as needing improvement.

'Whilst inspectors observed that pupils enjoyed going to the school and felt safe and were well behaved, it is clearly important that we ensure that academic outcomes are similarly deemed good or better. This is our key focus going forward.'

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