Glemsford: Governors apply for academy status for primary school

Glemsford Primary School.

Glemsford Primary School. - Credit: Archant

A primary school judged inadequate by Government inspectors just months after it was left owing thousands of pounds in an alleged computer scam could become an academy if a new bid is successful.

Last year, Ofsted inspectors placed Glemsford Primary School in “special measures” because of the insufficient leadership and management, quality of teaching, and achievement of pupils.

At the time, Suffolk County Council denied that action it took over an alleged £500,000 computer fraud – which saw the entire board of governors dismissed and the headteacher suspended – had led to the lowest possible rating by Ofsted.

But it has now emerged that following discussions with the county council, the Department for Education and the board of governors, Glemsford Primary could enter into a sponsorship agreement with the Haverhill based Samuel Ward Academy Trust.

Current headteacher Clare Farrant said after a difficult few years, the school was now making strong progress which could be “accelerated” with the support of a successful local sponsor.

She said: “This is the opportunity for Glemsford Primary to become the excellent school it has always had the potential to be.

“The staff at Samuel Ward Academy Trust have the experience and determination to partner us in our vision for excellence and are committed to supporting us on that journey.”

Most Read

The trust’s chief executive, Howard Lay, lives in Glemsford and believes the alliance will help improve teaching, learning and achievement at the primary school.

He said: “There is a lot of good will in this community to see Glemsford Primary made successful and we feel we have a moral responsibility to help.

“We want to work closely with the local community, to engage with parents and families and continue working with the county council throughout this process.

“Although parents have been informed about the proposal, formal consultation will begin over the next few weeks involving presentations from the trust and school.”

But county councillor Richard Kemp warned that academies were “not all success stories”. He added: “The governors make the decisions and I just hope they are doing this in the best interest of the 170 pupils at the school, which is the most important thing.”

Mr Kemp said there was also some concern that students could subsequently be sent to Samuel Ward Academy rather than the local senior schools such as Stour Valley Community School in Clare.

But Mr Lay said this was not the case. He added: “We are already over subscribed and our objective is to help support the school because we have the capacity to do so.

“We are outstanding, our exam results continue to be really high and if we don’t take this on, then a big national chain will come in and that is not what’s needed. We are local and are respectful of the values of the school.”

If the application is successful, the current governors would remain in place and the school would become an academy in January 2105.