Weatheralls at Soham is one of seven in Cambridgeshire warned about “unacceptably low standards”

John Powley joins students at the opening of the new Weatheralls extension

John Powley joins students at the opening of the new Weatheralls extension - Credit: Archant

A Soham primary school has been sent a warning notice about “unacceptably low standards” - despite getting a good rating in its last Ofsted report two years ago.

Allotment opening.Weatheralls School, Soham. Weatheralls pupil with Head teacher Chrissy Barclay. Pi

Allotment opening.Weatheralls School, Soham. Weatheralls pupil with Head teacher Chrissy Barclay. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Weatheralls is one of seven primary schools in Cambridgeshire targeted about poor performance, but in 2014 it was praised, and the governors told they were highly effective because they were well informed and ambitious.

The notices have been sent as a Government inspector threatens to take legal action for the first time to turn under-achieving schools into academies.

Tim Coulson, regional schools commissioner for the East of England and North-East London, who oversees academies, told governors to explain the reasons for “unacceptably low standards” and the action they were taking.

He wants assurance they are “actively considering joining a strong local multi-academy trust” and if he is not convinced by the information received, he could turn them into academies under powers gained after the Education and Adoption Act came into force in April.

Chrissy Barclay, head teacher, said: “Weatheralls Primary School has been judged as Good by OFSTED and apart from last year’s tests its SATS results for the past 10 years have been around the national average.

“However, we agree that we can do better and were disappointed with last year’s results which is why, a year ago, we put in a comprehensive action plan, with the Governors, to make improvements.

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“Tim Coulson’s letter came to us nearly a year after this action plan was put in place and since sharing this plan with him he has written back, last month, to support the work we are doing.

“In his letter he thanked us for our ‘full, interesting, informative and encouraging reply’ and recognised the ‘considerable work undertaken this year to address the performance in 2015.’

“He also said ‘It was helpful to see the steps that have been taken to improve performance along with those that are planned, with clear deadlines for the impact of these. In particular, I noted your intention to build closer working relationships with local schools to improve staff development.”

In June 2014 inspectors told Weatheralls that the achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and leadership were all good.

Cambridgeshire County Council said it identified concerns in its seven schools last August, and has been “providing a wide range of support depending on the school’s needs”.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Many of the schools sent warning notices have welcomed the support that a multi-academy ‎trust can offer.

“If the information provided by the schools is not sufficiently reassuring or convincing, we will consider using the intervention powers set out in the Act.”

John Powley, chairman of Governors at Weatheralls said he did not wish to comment.

• Other schools sent warning notices are Thomas Eaton Community Primary in Wimblington, Ramsey Community Junior, Glebelands Primary in Chatteris, Elm CofE Primary, Huntingdon Primary and Trumpington Meadows Primary.

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