Hope bosses aim to install interim leadership team

St Helens Star: Hope Academy has faced turmoil since a recent Ofsted visit Hope Academy has faced turmoil since a recent Ofsted visit

A NEW leadership team formed by a partnership with an outstanding school is set to be put in place at the troubled Hope Academy.

Sources have told the Star the £33m academy in Newton-le-Willows has been warned it will be placed in special measures following its most recent monitoring visit by Ofsted.

The principal John Gannon and the chair of governors, Bart McGettrick, have both resigned.

A statement was issued by the governing body and sponsors of Hope Academy, Liverpool Hope University and the Catholic and Church of England Archdioceses of Liverpool said that Mr Gannon was stepping down for “personal health reasons”.

It added: “We will be advertising shortly for a new principal to start in September and are finalising arrangements to support the leadership of the Academy in the interim period.

“We expect to be able to announce these arrangements very shortly.

“We wish to assure parents and the local community that we are working closely with our local authority partners to address issues that have been raised and improve standards.”

The Star revealed last week that there were mounting concerns about standards at the secondary school, which was formed by the merger of Newton High and St Aelreds.

Last year after its first Ofsted inspection the academy was told it needed to improve but monitoring visits have found progress to be slow.

A report from the most recent visit will not be published for another month.

Academies sit outside direct local education authority control – but situation has caused deep concern at St Helens Council, where driving up standards of secondary education across the borough is a priority. As concerns grew this week council leader Barrie Grunewald spoke out.

Councillor leader Barrie Grunewald said: “I am deeply concerned that the standards expected of the Hope Academy – which is independent of full council control - are not being achieved.

“There can be no tolerance of failure therefore along with the other organisations involved with the school – including Hope University and the Archdiocese - we will be taking swift and appropriate action to get the academy back on track as quickly as possible.”

The Reverend Joan Matthew has been installed as interim chair of governors.

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