Suffolk primary school faces new sponsor after termination warning and inadequate Ofsted rating

Grove Primary School, Carlton Colville. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Grove Primary School, Carlton Colville. Picture: NICK BUTCHER - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Waveney primary school could be moved to a new sponsor after a poor Ofsted report saw the government threaten to end its funding.

Tim Coulson, the regional schools commissioner for the east of England, sent the Active Learning Trust (ATL) a termination warning notice in relation to Grove Primary School, in Carlton Colville, in July.

It comes just weeks after the Suffolk school was rated inadequate by Ofsted in June, when inspectors found “serious weaknesses” and said it was “performing significantly less well” than it should be.

Termination warning notices are issued to poorly rated schools, and signals that the commissioner is considering scrapping a school’s funding agreement - meaning it would have to move to a new trust.

In the letter, Mr Coulson said: “In light of these findings by Ofsted, I am not satisfied that the trust has the capacity to support the rapid and sustained improvement that is required so I am serving you with this termination warning notice.”

But Gary Peile, chief executive of ALT, moved to reassure parents and staff that the school was working closely with Mr Coulson to ensure its leadership was “secure”.

He said, since its inspection, the trust had “completely revised” its senior leadership team, bringing in headteachers from two other thriving trust schools.

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We are confident the trust does have the capacity to ensure Grove moves quickly from special measures,” he said. “We can evidence our effectiveness and ability in the recent turnaround of Westwood and Red Oak Primary Schools which have already moved onto good outcomes with Ofsted since they joined the trust.”

He said the trust had lodged a formal complaint over the Ofsted inspection, which they felt was not “of the rigorous standard” it normally sets.

Mr Coulson has asked the school to put forward its case as he decides whether to terminate the agreement.

We asked the Department for Education why the school had be issued a termination warning notice, rather than a pre-termination warning, which is often a precursor to a full warning, but they were not able to respond before publication.

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