School in St Neots has warning notice withdrawn by officials

Ernulf Academy in St Neots.

Ernulf Academy in St Neots. - Credit: Archant

A St Neots secondary school has announced that a Department of Education warning notice – issued in March after inspectors reported “unacceptably low standards” – has been withdrawn.

In a statement issued on Monday, the governing body of Ernulf Academy confirmed it had received confirmation from regional schools’ commissioner, Tim Coulson, that the St Neots Learning Partnership (SNLP), which oversees both Ernulf and Longsands academies, had complied with all the requirements from the warning notice issued on March 25.

“To achieve such rapid improvements in such a short period of time, the governing body of the St Neots Learning Partnership asked Rick Carroll [head teacher at Longsands Academy] to lead its improvements,” said Karl Wainwright, chairman of governors for the SNLP.

“Mr Carroll, supported by head of Ernulf, Di Beddow, and members of the senior leadership team from Longsands Academy, worked tremendously hard through the summer term to ensure that we met the requirements of the Department for Education’s warning notice.”

Academies minister Lord Nash wrote to Ernulf in January raising concerns after Ofsted inspectors flagged up several areas of poor performance. An Ofsted monitoring team then reported in March that standards were still “unacceptably low” and senior leaders and governors had failed to take “effective action” to bring about improvements.

Mr Coulson wrote to Ernulf Academy in March and issued the warning notice saying he wanted to see “rapid improvement”.

In what proved to be a turbulent few months for the school, in May it was announced that head teacher Scott Preston had left by “mutual agreement” and Di Beddow was appointed as acting head teacher.

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As a result of Monday’s announcement, Rick Carroll has now been appointed as chief executive officer for the SNLP and former deputy head of Longsands, Martin Paine, will take on the role of head.

“The governing body is proud of everything that Mr Carroll has achieved at Longsands Academy and feels confident that with his continued support of Mr Paine, and when the new head teacher at Ernulf Academy is appointed later this year, that both academies can continue on their journey to ensuring that they are providing the best possible outcomes for all the students,” added Mr Wainwright.

In his role as chief executive Mr Carroll will undertake coaching and mentoring in relation to both head teachers and will represent both schools in educational forums, both regionally and nationally.

He said: “We are delighted by the progress made over the past few months at Ernulf. Over the course of the summer term, staff were focused on enhancing levels of teaching and learning and developing approaches to parental engagement. The next few months will see us working on lifting students’ aspirations and self-belief in maximising their individual progress.”

Mr Pain added: “Under my leadership, our core purpose at Longsands will remain to ensure that all of our students achieve the best possible learning experience and outcomes and this will be central to the educational opportunities which we will continue to maintain and develop. I look forward to working with staff, students and parents in helping us achieve this ambition.”