UPDATED: Academy trust chosen to run Bury St Edmunds primary school
An academy trust has been chosen to run a primary school in Bury St Edmunds following a heated debate over its future.
The Regional Schools Commissioner has decided that the Cambridgeshire-based Chilford Hundred Education Trust (CHET) will sponsor Howard Community Primary School.
The school, in Beard Road, had to join an academy trust after it was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted last year.
CHET was the Department for Education’s preferred sponsor but there had been calls in the community for the Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust to run the school.
Toby Slater Robins, chairman of governors at Howard Primary, said: “I’m delighted that the Regional Schools Commissioner has decided that the Chilford Hundred Education Trust is the most suitable sponsor for Howard Community Primary School.
“We now have the certainty and capacity that we urgently need to move forward in securing a positive and exciting future for the whole school community.
“There is still much work to be done, but I’m sure that this marks a decisive turning-point in the fortunes of the school.”
Ernie Broom, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants, had called for the Bury All-Through Trust to run the school.
He said: “I raised the issue because that’s what I truly believed was best for the community and school.
“The decision is done, I have to accept that decision and I want to be involved with the school because the school is part of the community.”
A Department for Education spokesman said: “The Department undertook a robust selection process to decide on the right sponsor to address the education standards for the children at Howard Community Primary school – and the Chilford Hundred Education Trust has the right kind of experience to do this.
“We are working closely with the school and trust to ensure the process is as smooth as possible for any affected students.”
Helena Marsh, executive principal of CHET, said they were ‘really pleased’ with the decision and were ‘looking forward to working alongside the school’s staff and in partnership with parents and the local community to support improvements at Howard and focus on enhancing educational provision for the children’.
She added: “We will be working closely with Suffolk County Council during the transition period and have already begun to build relationships with school leaders.
“CHET is in the process of organising a staff meeting at Howard and opportunities to meet with children and parents.
“Colleagues from our Teaching School Alliance, CASSA, will start to work in a supportive capacity at the school in the coming weeks.”