Primary school in Kensal Rise appoints new head and changes name

Kensal Rise Primary School

Kensal Rise Primary School - Credit: Archant

Kensal Rise Primary School to adopt new name after being taken over by the ARK chain of academies

Bethan Thomas

Bethan Thomas - Credit: Archant

A primary school in Kensal Rise which was taken over by an academy chain has announced a change of name and appointed a new head teacher.

Kensal Rise Primary School will become known as Ark Franklin Primary Academy and has brought in its own head teacher to act as a replacement for the interim head.

In March, the school, in Harvist Road, announced it decided to partner with the ARK chain of academies following a poor Ofsted report where it was labelled inadequate.

Controversially, the schools head teacher was also suspended last year amid claims of financial irregularity and an interim head appointed.

But it has been announced that Bethan Thomas will be the head teacher of the new look school.

Currently, under rules outlined by the Department for Education (DfE), any school that is deemed to be ‘failing’ is forced to convert to academy status.

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Academies break away from local authority control and are instead funded by central government and given their own sponsors.

The ARK chain is educational charity and academy operator and works with new start-up schools and transition schools.

It already has the ARK Academy, an “all through” school in Bridge Road, Wembley, which was opened in two stages between 2008 and 2010.

Ms Thomas is currently head of the seven form entry infant school at the Cambridge International School in Dubai and has 15 years experience in primary education.

Announcing the new appointment in a letter to parents, Venessa Willms ARK Schools director of primary education, wrote: : “I am delighted that Bethan Thomas will be the founding headteacher of ARK Franklin Primary Academy. She brings extensive experience in ensuring that primary children succeed and I believe that she will be an excellent head for the new academy.”

On the change of name, she added: “Following the consultation, the new academy will be known as ARK Franklin Primary Academy, commemorating the work of Rosalind Franklin who was born, lived and was buried locally.

“Franklin’s work on x-ray diffractions was instrumental in the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA, the genetic code that has made much modern medicine possible.”

The school is set to open under its new name in September.