A troubled village school has been dealt a further blow after being rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted which has cited an ‘instability in leadership’ for falling standards.
Badwell Ash CEVC Primary has been without a permanent headteacher for the last three years and recently saw all but one of its governing body resign.
After an inspection last month, Ofsted inspectors said the ‘instability in leadership has contributed to the failure to secure improvement in teaching and achievement’.
They noted that ‘governors are struggling to match the costs of running the school within the funding available and its provision is only maintained by drawing on the school’s dwindling reserves’.
Inspectors added that the ‘failure of the local authority and governors to secure a stable partnership or federation with a high-performing school has been detrimental to the education of all pupils’.
Earlier this year the school was earmarked for closure due to issues surrounding its financial viability and pupil numbers but was handed a reprieve following a campaign by parents.
An interim executive board (IEB) of governors has been appointed to decide its future.
Parent Helen Flack, whose five-year-old daughter attends the school, said: “I do believe someone needs to be held accountable for everything that’s happened with that school.”
Inspectors noted that current acting head Margo Barker ‘accepted responsibility for the school in the middle of August but was not provided with a contract of employment by the local authority until lunchtime on the first day of inspection’.
Karl Hortt, chairman of the village parish council, said: “I think we’ve been served rather badly by the county council.” On the school’s future he said: “I don’t think the school can stand independently, it needs to be in a federation. I would hope that’s possible.”
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said it is ‘working closely with Badwell Ash Primary to improve the quality of education children receive there’. He added: “The interim executive board has been appointed and already started work and we are supporting it, and the diocese, to plan what happens next. The priority is doing what is in the best interest of the children that attend the school.”
The Venerable Dr David Jenkins, Archdeacon of Sudbury, said: “The Diocesan Board of Education continues to work closely with the local authority in supporting Badwell Ash Primary, as it responds to the Ofsted report and assesses its individual future with a new IEB in place.”