School to become academy?

20/11/13- Little Ridge School, Hastings.
20/11/13- Little Ridge School, Hastings.

ANOTHER primary school in town is set become an academy.

Little Ridge has put forward proposals and consulting with parents, staff and the public over the move.

The school, in Little Ridge Avenue, St Leonards, was placed in special measures in November following a damning Ofsted inspection.

Inspectors gave the school an ‘inadequate’ rating, saying pupils were found to be leaving Little Ridge with low standards of attainment in reading, writing, and mathematics.

The leadership and management was also criticised in the report where inspectors said the school’s leaders, including governors, had ‘failed to respond effectively’ to areas needing improvement.

However Ofsted did find that children were polite and respectful, and those who attended the Speech and Language Centre made good progress.

After the previous Ofsted inspection in 2011, Little Ridge was given an overall effectiveness rating of good, at which time the school was praised for ongoing improvements. But as a result of the latest report headteacher Tom Collins was replaced by executive headteacher Angela Gartland.

Governors at Little Ridge agreed last July to put forward proposals to become an academy.

If the proposal gets the go-ahead the school would join the ARK Schools network, which includes Helenswood and William Parker Academy, and gain its new status on September 1 this year.

Elphinstone, Dudley Infants, Red Lake, and West St Leonards schools have all become academies since last September, with Elphinstone changing its status earlier this month. It became The Baird Primary Academy, in honour of John Logie Baird who first conceived the concept of television.

Malcolm Vint, chairman of governing body at Little Ridge School, said: “All the governors believe that a strong sponsor will allow Little Ridge to thrive, so we are talking to staff and parents. ARK has a great track record, and we have faith that they can give our school the support it needs to be a success.

“We will still keep our own unique school identity – but we will be part of group of schools who can encourage and inspire each other. We’re really positive about the next chapter in Little Ridge’s history.”

The consultation runs until January 31, 2014 and anyone wishing to submit their views can contact Sophia Clarke via or 020 3116 6307.

ARK Schools is an education charity that aims to give children from all backgrounds an exceptional education. It already runs 27 schools across London, Birmingham, and Portsmouth as well as William Parker and Helenswood.

For more information about ARK Schools, visit