Trust in line to take over struggling Southend school

A trust which manages Westcliff High School for Girls is in the running to take over a struggling Leigh-on-Sea primary school.

The South East Essex Academy Trust (SEEAT) has been working with Heycroft Primary School following an “inadequate” grading by Ofsted in January this year.

A Department of Education advisory board will meet on June 22 to discuss a proposal for the trust to sponsor the school in Benvenue Avenue in Leigh.

Andrew Cooper, chief executive officer of SEEAT said: “I can confirm the trust is being considered as a sponsor for Heycroft Primary School.

“The regional director will make a decision on 22 June.

“We have been very happy to support the school since January 2023 and one of our experienced headteachers, Glenn Moore from Hadleigh Junior School, has been executive headteacher at Heycroft for two days a week, with additional support from other members of the SEEAT team.

“We are enjoying working with Heycroft and we hope they will join our local family of schools.”

In January, governors were told to submit a “rapid improvement plan”. The education watchdog gave the school the lowest rating in February, days after the entire governing body resigned. Governors had faced criticicism from Southend City Council over the way the school “was being managed” and Ofsted inspectors said pupils had not received an acceptable quality of education.

Mr Moore has been working as the executive interim headteacher of the school, which has 397 pupils aged from four to 11.

Mr Moore’s school in Hadleigh forms part of the South East Essex Academy Trust, which also includes Westcliff High School for Girls.

Helen Boyd, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “We are aware that following on from the process led by the Department for Education for selecting a suitable academy to take over the permanent leadership of Heycroft Primary School, that a decision is soon to be made at the East of England Advisory Board, which is responsible for deciding the future of the school and in the meantime South East Essex Academy Trustwill continue working with the school.

“Until this decision is made, it is difficult to say much else except I am sure having assessed all the applications, they will make the right decision for children, parents and staff of the school, and the council will continue to support the Heycroft School community in any way we can.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter