PARENTS have been informed that a headteacher who helped to move a school out of special measures has taken a step back.

After a string of concerning Ofsted reports, which included a 'Requires Improvement' and two 'Inadequate' ratings, St Edmund Arrowsmith was converted into the Pope Francis Catholic Multi Academy Trust in May 2021.

With aims to turn the Whiston school around, Academy leaders appointed Lee Peachey as headteacher in 2022 and a Catholic School Inspection and another Ofsted inspection took place this year.

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​Ofsted report

St Helens Star: Mr Peachy with pupils following the improved Ofsted inspectionMr Peachy with pupils following the improved Ofsted inspection (Image: St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Academy)
While the Academy was given another 'Requires Improvement' rating in its Ofsted report from April, the report marks the first time the school has been out of 'Inadequate' special measures since 2017.

Inspectors also noted a series of improvements that has taken place at St Edmund Arrowsmith, as well as the capacity for further improvement.

The report states: "Staff foster positive relationships with their pupils. Most pupils are happy at the school [and] the school is ambitious for pupils to succeed.

"Pupils are increasingly benefiting from the improvements that the school has made to the quality of education that it provides."

Although a "small minority" of pupils misbehave in lessons, inspectors say that the school has "raised its expectations of how pupils behave" and the variety of extra-curricular activities has also increased.

School leaders are also reported to have taken "effective action to address the legacy of weaknesses in the curriculum, including those with special needs and disabilties."

Summing up, inspectors said: "The trust and the school have wisely identified the priorities for improvement [and have] supported the school by appointing new, experienced staff in various positions. This has strengthened the school’s capacity for improvement."

Headteacher absence explained

Following the Ofsted and Catholic School Inspections, CEO of the Academy, Andrew Dawson, has sent a letter to parents to confirm that Mr Peachey will be taking some time away from the school for personal reasons.

The letter states: "Following a very intense period for the school, Mr Peachey is taking some time away from SEACA for personal reasons.

"We don’t want this to disrupt the positive journey that the school is on, so we have acted quickly to secure an interim Headteacher to ensure that we have the capacity to continue to grow and thrive."

In Mr Peachey's absence, it has been confirmed that Clare McKenna, the deputy head at St Gregory’s Catholic High School in Warrington, will take over as interim head teacher.

Erin Wheeler, who has already been working alongside the senior leadership team in recent months, will work alongside Mrs McKenna as interim executive headteacher.