A Ventnor primary school could be made into an academy, after an Ofsted report deemed the school was in special measures.

St Francis Catholic and C of E Primary School could become an academy after the Church of England, Catholic dioceses and the local authority agreed a joint response to a disappointing Ofsted report. Because of the government expects that all schools placed into ‘special measures’ become academies the Church of England’s Portsmouth and Winchester Diocesan Academy Trust has offered to sponsor the school. It currently sponsors three academies, and the diocesan team support a further 17 academies in Bournemouth, Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight. The government would need to formally agree to any change to academy status. The Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, said:

“We were disappointed to hear that inspectors had placed the school in ‘special measures’, but we recognise that this can provide a new opportunity for the school to be re-launched as an academy. “Our academy trust already sponsors a number of other academies, and has been successful in helping to raise standards and improve teaching. We’re confident that the trust could deal with the issues addressed by Ofsted. The most important thing for us is to make sure that these children are given the best possible education. “We’re conscious that parents also chose this school for their children because of its Christian ethos. This is also the best way to preserve the Christian ethos of the school, given the expectation by the government that the school should become an academy.”

The Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Philip Egan, said:

“I am naturally disappointed with the Ofsted findings, and the school staff, governors and families will be in my prayers as they take in this difficult news. “We have been working closely with our colleagues in the Church of England diocese for many years. We can see the opportunities that becoming an academy within the PWDAT can bring, if it becomes the academy sponsor of St Francis School. “We are confident that in partnership with the trust, which already has experience of helping schools in similar positions, we will be able to support St Francis to improve academically, and that it will continue to uphold the strong Christian ethos upon which it was founded.”

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said:

“The Isle of Wight Council has been working together with representatives of St Francis Primary School and we hope that its conversion to an academy, supported by both dioceses, will provide the best outcome for the school, its pupils and their families. “The Ofsted report for St Francis was understandably disappointing, especially at a point in time where there are currently no inadequate schools on the island.  There were eleven when the partnership with Hampshire began and this demonstrates excellent progress and overall improvement of the island school system. However, we will continue to work with the school as required, as they seek to implement the improvements needed to provide the best possible education to their pupils.”