Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Sandown Bay Academy firm gets intervention threat

Sandown Bay Academy
Image caption Sandown Bay Academy, formerly Sandown High, was formed in 2011

The government has reprimanded the company running a secondary school in special measures, calling its performance "unacceptable".

The operators of Sandown Bay Academy, on the Isle of Wight, was issued with a "pre-warning" letter from the government, the BBC has learned.

It sees ministers threatening to appoint their own directors unless improvements are made.

The Academies Enterprise Trust has appointed a new principal in response.

The academy was placed in special measures by Ofsted following an inspection in the spring and has had three head teachers in the last two years.

'Encouraging signs'

Eric Jackson, a so-called "super-head", was appointed interim principal on 15 November. A further Ofsted report has revealed the school is still in special measures.

Mr Jackson held a forum with parents on Monday, telling the BBC he is confident of turning the school's fortunes around.

The Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), which runs around 80 academies across England, has received "pre warning" letters for five other academies from the Department for Education.

Image caption David Fuller believes a new "Super Head" will take the academy forward

David Fuller from AET stressed there were "encouraging signs" at Sandown Bay Academy, which received the government letter in March, despite the problems.

He said: "This is an improving school, with some encouraging results in the summer.

"But, there have been a number of challenges we have faced that have required attention.

"The pace of change has not been what we would have wanted, which is why we have taken the action we have.

"We have appointed a very experienced person with the abilities and track-record to take this academy forward at a greater pace."

'Parents complaining'

The academy, formerly Sandown High, was formed in 2011 after schools on the Isle of Wight were reformed.

Isle of Wight MP, Andrew Turner (Con), felt the move had been made without ensuring an efficient transition.

"I have had a lot of parents coming to me and complaining, worrying what the future holds for their children," he said.

"Lots are applying to a particular school on the island, but that school won't have enough room for them all."

Four of the Isle's six secondary schools were rated "inadequate" in their last Ofsted inspections.

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