Little Ridge is latest school to become ARK academy

A PRIMARY school put into special measures at the end of last year will become an academy in September.

Little Ridge Primary School revealed the change earlier this week after a month-and-a-half long consultation with parents, local residents and staff confirmed support for the plans.

As part of the consultation 88 feedback forms were handed in to the school’s management – with 68 per cent of respondents agreeing Little Ridge should become an academy.

From September it will relaunch as the ARK Little Ridge Primary Academy and officially become part of the ARK schools network which already includes ARK William Parker and Helenswood academies.

The school will also have a new headteacher after ARK confirmed the appointment of Sarah Bailey who will take up the post at the start of the new school year.

Outlining her vision for the school she said: “I am delighted to be joining ARK Little Ridge Primary Academy. I can’t wait to begin getting to know the staff team, parents and community and all their exceptional children.

“When visiting the school, it struck me as having so much potential and, together, we will harness this.

“I will bring energy and a commitment to the highest standards to the school and can’t wait to have the opportunity to build on the great work already happening there, leading the school on the first steps of their journey up the mountain to success.”

Venessa Willms, ARK’s Director of Primary Schools, added: “Sarah has an impressive track record and her career to date demonstrates that she doesn’t shy away from challenges.

“In her current role, working alongside her headteacher, Sarah has been instrumental in securing impressive improvements within a short space of time. This tenacity came across strongly throughout the tough interview process, during which she impressed staff, pupils and governors.”

The new headteacher will be spending time over the summer term at Little Ridge in order to get to know the school, pupils, staff and parents ahead of starting full time in the new school year in September.

Little Ridge, in Little Ridge Avenue, was placed in special measures in November on the back of a concerning Ofsted inspection. A report gave the school an ‘inadequate’ rating, saying pupils were found to be leaving with low standards of attainment in reading, writing, and mathematics.

The leadership and management was also criticised in the report, with the inspection team concluding the school’s leaders had failed to respond effectively to areas needing improvement.

ARK is considered one of the country’s leading academy groups and currently runs 27 academies housing 14,500 pupils. A dozen of the 13 ARK academies so far inspected by Ofsted were rated good or outstanding.

Little Ridge is the latest in a string of local schools to shift to academy status. Elphinstone, Dudley Infants, Red Lake, and West St Leonards schools have all made the change since last September.