Epworth school to be out of special measures early

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Epworth Primary Academy is set to be automatically lifted out of special measures - if it joins forces with the town’s secondary school.

Parents who packed South Axholme Academy’s hall in a public meeting about proposed changes, were told the primary academy would still have increased Ofsted inspections, but would no longer carry the special measures stigma within the new scheme.

South Axholme’s chairman of governors, Paul Barrett, explained how Epworth Primary Academy would have a new appointed leader, while being managed by a newly formed trust headed by South Axholme Academy.

Anxious parents who asked whether their children would be ‘guinea pigs’ in such a scheme, were assured there are tried and tested models elsewhere.

But although a final go-ahead, or not, to the ambitious plan is expected from the Government imminently, a new primary headteacher cannot be in post until January next year.

Headteacher of South Axholme Marie Lister added that the post would be re-advertised if necessary.

And should the proposed link-up with South Axholme not be approved by Education Minister Lord Nash, then an external chain of academies would be chosen to take over Epworth Primary “within a week,” said Mr Barrett, who added that the local authority has been “unbelievably supportive” to the chosen way forward.

He told the meeting: “We want to maintain independence within the Isle community and see the primary academy at the same level as South Axholme within a year, with both academies aiming to be outstanding, as they both should be.

“Later on it may be that parents would like the academies to be one school, or even to separate totally once they are at ‘outstanding’ status.”

He confirmed the primary academy would be taken out of special measures.

Ofsted confirmed that schools could cease to be classed as in special measures when they are replaced by a new legal entity with a new unique reference number, such as becoming an academy.