Warning Ipswich school could lose sponsor following ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating
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An Ipswich primary school given a rating of “inadequate” by Ofsted inspectors could lose its sponsor unless rapid progress is made.
Sprites Primary Academy was given the lowest grading by Ofsted in 2018 - and an improvement plan was put in place in a bid to turn things around.
However, despite inspectors believing the school was making progress when they visited in January last year, a full inspection on October 15 and 16, published in December, found the school was still struggling.
A new headteacher, Motiur Rahman, has just started at Sprites following Christmas, and the school says it has a "comprehensive improvement plan" in place.
But the Department for Education has now sent an official "Minded to Terminate" letter to REAch2 Academy Trust - the second such letter following a previous warning in December 2018. This means it could be forced to cut ties with the school unless improvements are made in a number of key areas.
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The letter says the latest inspection findings are "of serious concern following the previous Inadequate judgement in May 2018, with many of the original Ofsted findings disappointingly remaining and signs of progress reported by Ofsted in the January monitoring visit not being sustained through the summer term."
It highlights a number of concerns raised by Ofsted, including too many pupils behaving poorly and disrupting learning, pupils not achieving well enough at the end of key stages one and two, a "poorly planned and delivered curriculum" which does not meet the needs of pupils with special needs, and weak teaching.
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The letter, signed by regional schools commissioner Sue Baldwin, warns that, if she is not "satisfied with progress", a more serious Termination Warning Notice could be sent, which could lead to formal termination of the funding agreement.
This would leave Sprites Academy without a sponsor, but it could then be taken in by an alternative trust.
The DfE letter says: "You have recruited an experienced head teacher who will be fully deployed at Sprites. This action is necessary but not sufficient."
It sets down a number of conditions that need to be met, adding: "We will continue to monitor progress and performance of Sprites through at least termly review meetings, the first of which will be in March 2020."
A spokesman for REAch2 said: "We were disappointed to receive this letter and want to reassure parents that we have a robust and comprehensive improvement plan in place.
"With our new headteacher Motiur Rahman now in school, we are confident that the impact of these changes will be seen very soon so that we can genuinely provide exceptional opportunities for children's learning at Sprites."
In its report, Ofsted said that "for too long, pupils at Sprites Primary Academy have had an inadequate quality of education" and "the standard of behaviour had declined".
However, the report recognised that pupils were well looked after, and many parents were positive about the direction the school was heading.