CONCERNS have been raised by education chiefs about the state of primary schools in Basildon after another one has ended up in special measures.
Phoenix Primary School in Laindon was placed into the category by Ofsted after its latest report, taking the total of schools in special measures up to six in Basildon.
The Department for Education has warned under performance must be tackled as quickly as possible and bringing in a mult-academy sponsor is a possible solution.
Essex County Council is in the early stages of looking at what a sponsor could do to help Basildon schools and is due to feedback to headteachers in the coming weeks.
A DFE spokesman said: “Academy sponsors are proven to work. They have a track record of turning round struggling schools across the country and are improving their results at twice the national average rate.
“We must root out under performance wherever we find it and drive up standards so that all pupils reach their potential.”
Cherrytree Primary, in Church Road, St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, in Elsenham Crescent, the Basildon Academies in Wickford Avenue and Timberlog Close, The Willows Primary in Church Road, and Briscoe Primary and Nursery School in Felmores End, Pitsea are now all in special measures.
Ofsted inspectors said reading, writing and maths levels were too low and that pupils’ writing skills were weak.
It was also critical of the standard of teaching and said tracking of pupils’ achievement was not coherent.
However it was praising of the new headteacher Tracy Ahern who took over in September 2011 when the school was on a notice to improve.
The report added: “Since the previous report, the new headteacher has tackled a legacy of underachievement and created a new vision for the school. She has driven improvements to pupils’ behaviour, attendance and made a number of new appointments to strengthen teaching, leadership and management.
“Stronger links are being made with parents and carers through regular consultation and a range of iniatives to attract them to the school. However, senior leaders and governors acknowledge that more time is needed before these changes deliver sustained development to pupils’ achievement.”
John Dornan, ward councillor for Laindon Park, said: “I am disappointed with the news. Ofsted has toughened up its way of inspecting and they have raised the bar.
“It is not acceptable that Basildon children be left behind and I hope that everyone will get behind the school and headteacher and help them get up to a good standard.”
Stephen Castle, councillor with responsibility for education at Essex County Council added: “I am disappointed to learn that Phoenix Primary school is now in special measures.
“We are actively working with the school and the governing body to work on the immediate and long term issues the school is looking to improve and to action the recommendations made by Ofsted.
“Improving school standards is of utmost concern to me. We recently had a conference with schools in Basildon to discuss ensuring children in Basildon are receiving the highest standard of education.
“We are continuing to work with teachers, colleagues from the Borough Council and the Department of Education to discuss possible opportunities to raise standards quickly and appropriately."
Mrs Ahern was not available for comment when the Echo went to press.