Troubled primary school dealt another blow with termination warning notice

An “inadequate” primary school has been handed yet another blow after receiving a termination warning notice.

The troubled Howard Junior School in Gaywood was handed a damning report from education watchdog Ofsted last month, with an emergency inspection unveiling “serious failings” in the way it is run.

This followed the arrest of Greg Hill, its head teacher of 16 years, on suspicison of stalking offences earlier this year. He was re-bailed last Wednesday until June 2.

Howard Junior School in Lynn and its head teacher Greg Hill
Howard Junior School in Lynn and its head teacher Greg Hill

And now, the school could have its funding cut after the body which runs it – the Apollo Academies Trust – received a written warning from the Department for Education.

However, this would likely result in it being transferred into the care of another academies trust.

Jonathan Duff, the Department for Education’s regional director for the East of England, has told staff that they must provide a “post inspection action plan” for proposed improvements by the end of this month if they want the existing structure to remain in place.

Former head teacher Greg Hill, who was suspended following his arrest
Former head teacher Greg Hill, who was suspended following his arrest

His letter said: “As regional director, I need to be satisfied that the trust has the capacity to deliver rapid and sustainable improvement at the academy.

“If I am not satisfied that this can be achieved, I will consider whether to terminate the funding agreement in order to transfer the academy to an alternative academy trust.

“In making the decision on whether to terminate the funding agreement I will consider any written representations the trust wishes to make in response to this termination warning notice.”

Ofsted rated Howard Junior School ‘good’ for behaviour and attitudes, but ‘requires improvement’ for the quality of education and personal development – and ‘inadequate’ for leadership and management.

The report said that pupils receive a “weak quality of education” and that “leaders have prioritised the appearance of the building at the expense of the curriculum”.

Helen Wardale, chair of trustees at Howard Junior School, said: “In response to our recent Ofsted inspection, I am pleased to say that we have strengthened our temporary leadership team by bringing in Linda Hothersall, as acting executive head.

“Linda is an experienced leader and is currently the head teacher of Eastgate Academy [in Lynn]. She knows our community well and I am confident that she can support us to make the improvements that are needed.

“We have now received a termination warning notice from the Department for Education, which means that they are exploring options for the future of our school.

“It is current national government policy for schools with inadequate Ofsted outcomes to become part of stronger multi academy trusts and we are now working with the Department for Education to secure a sponsor for the school.”

Mr Hill, who was suspended from his role as head teacher following his arrest in March, told the Lynn News that he was left “devastated” upon finding out about the school’s termination warning.

He has maintained his belief that the recent Ofsted report is “grossly unfair” – and he has urged Lynn residents to “give their all to save Howard”.