Children and staff at a primary school placed into special measures earlier this year has moved under the control of Cumbria’s largest education trust.
Hensingham Community Primary School in Whitehaven was rated ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted in February. Today (Nov 1) it joins the family of schools run by the successful Cumbria Education Trust (CET).
The school becomes the sixth primary and ninth school in all to become part of CET, the largest Multi Academy Trust in the county. It is now responsible for the education of almost 4,000 children, including those at nearby The Whitehaven Academy.
The trust has brought in an experienced leader, well-known at primary schools in the Whitehaven area, to be the interim head of school and to initiate an improvement action plan.
Faye Eldon was previously acting head at St Joseph’s in Frizington and was at nearby St Patrick’s for 12 years, latterly as assistant headteacher.
Mrs Eldon said: “It is a really caring school and I’ve been made to feel really welcome here.
“The Ofsted report has impacted the school, even though the children are quite resilient. Now we need to move the school forward.
“It’s making sure we have a rapid action plan for subject leadership, and ensuring we have a broad and balanced curriculum and the children have the opportunities to develop those skills to become lifelong learners.
“I’m very much looking forward to raising standards with staff and the CET and the future being bright.”
The 166-pupil school was rated Inadequate across all five inspection areas by Ofsted.
The trust will use its greater scale and experience of similar situations to improve standards. That strategy has seen both Yewdale in Carlisle and Longtown move from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Good’ in their most recent Ofsted inspections.
Chris Wilkins, director of primary education for CET, said that sharing of resources to help the school achieve its aim more quickly was already under way. There was also a fresh emphasis on professional development for staff to help them assist pupils in living up to the trust’s motto of ‘be the best you can be’.
He said: “This is a lovely school, with some very dedicated teachers. The children are polite and want to learn and there’s a very supportive community behind them.
“These are all important elements in giving children the start in education they deserve and to get the school back to the levels it used to deliver for this community.”
Mrs Eldon, who was also formerly a primary maths mastery specialist working with a number of schools in the area, is no stranger to Hensingham – being a pupil herself at both the then infants and junior schools.
She added: “I loved my time here and I want the children who are here now to have the same feelings towards this school as I have from 30-odd years ago.
“These days are important and they do shape your life. The education I got here stood me in good stead as I went on to secondary school and university.
“I want to make sure these children get exactly the same opportunities that I’ve had. As a whole staff, we are committed to providing an enriching education for all the children at Hensingham Primary School.”