Future of Shotley and Stutton primary schools safeguarded as both join Asset Education trust, says chief
An ailing south Suffolk primary school branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted last year is set to join an established multi-academy trust in September – just weeks after another school was saved from closure by joining the trust.
Asset Education, which runs primary schools in Ipswich and north east Suffolk, will see Shotley Community Primary School join from September, after the Department for Education chose the trust to be the school’s new sponsor.
A scathing Ofsted from November said that “leaders’ and governors’ poor relationships and their unwillingness to work collectively for the good of the pupils have directly caused a decline in standards.”
Work is already underway over the transition to the new trust, including working with staff and issuing letters and surveys to parents.
Clare Flintoff, Asset Education chief executive said: “We did our homework and made sure the school would welcome our support, and in order to be successful we need the staff to be behind us.”
She added: “Parents are very supportive of the school generally and they were very welcoming in our meeting.”
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Once feedback from staff and parents has been collated, an action plan will be put in place.
The announcement follows Stutton Church of England Primary, also in the Shotley Peninsula joining the trust on June 1.
Pupil numbers dropped from 51 to 19 in the last six years, leaving it under threat of closure this summer.
Mrs Flintoff praised the work of interim headteacher Anne Clarke for putting the school back on track, and said it meant both Stutton and Shotley’s futures were safeguarded.
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“It’s the fact that it’s secure,” she said.
“That should give parents confidence, and we have already had a number of families come round and seeing it is going to grow.”
For both schools, Asset said the immediate changes would be in back office processes to cut red tape.
Mrs Flintoff said she was keen to continue working alongside other schools and multi-academy trusts in both Ipswich and north east Suffolk to see Suffolk’s results improve, with the trust already highly involved in the Ipswich Opportunity Area programme to drive up results in town.
“That’s always been really important that we give back – it has to be for the benefit of the children of Suffolk.
“I can see what we can do together, and we just need to get on and see the bigger picture to have schools working together to deliver a lot of capacity to improve.”