Troubled Sudbury Primary School to partner with ‘outstanding’ secondary academy

Sudbury Primary school. Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas

Sudbury Primary school. Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas - Credit: Archant

A troubled primary academy in Sudbury says it is now on the right path after bringing in plans to partner with an outstanding secondary school as well as a new headteacher.

Eight months after the suspension of Sudbury Primary School’s head Uma Pandya over allegations of serious misconduct, the Watford Road school is set to team up with Claremont High School in Kenton to form a multi-academy trust (MAT).

But Brent’s National Union of Teachers (NUT) branch is vehemently opposed to the plans.

Sudbury’s chair of governors Ian Phillips said that teaming up with a school rated outstanding by education watchdog Ofsted would help the academy achieve its own dream of securing the same accolade.

He said: “The white smoke from government is that MATs are a more efficient way of running academies than lots of single academies, and we have sympathy with that.

“I think we will be stronger grouped together with other schools.”

The academy could also partner with “at least” two other Brent primary schools under the plans.

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But Brent NUT secretary Hank Roberts said the union would be encouraging its members to oppose the proposal.

“We consider academisation the privatisation of state education,” he said.

“Putting schools into MATs is setting them up to be taken over by the bigger academy chains which will be like what happened with the big private railway companies.”

Sudbury has already begun its partnership with Claremont by appointing the secondary’s deputy head Beth Ragheb as its new headteacher. She will lead the drive to win the school an “outstanding” Ofsted rating after being rated “requires improvement” in January.

The school received a letter from Ofsted last week urging it to “secure a permanent leadership structure”.

Acting headteacher Kamini Mistry, who has led the school since Ms Pandya was suspended, will become associate headteacher.

Ms Ragheb said: ““I am thrilled to be joining Sudbury Primary School at this pivotal point in its long history.

“Our recent challenges have been well documented but it is clear from a suite of external verifications that we are excellent at our core purpose: educating 930 three to 11-year-olds.”