A SCHOOL previously placed in special measures has joined a new trust in the hope the move will rejuvenate its fortunes.

Heyford Park School near Bicester was labelled ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted earlier this year with bad behaviour and a ‘failure’ to support vulnerable children cited.

Now, the all-through school has joined the Eynsham Partnership Academy (EPA), a trust consisting of six primaries and the secondary, Bartholomew School in Eynsham.

Craig Thomas, headteacher at the Witney Road school, will combine that role with a new one as the executive secondary headteacher at Heyford Park.

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He said: “In January, the Department for Education (DfE) asked the trust to sponsor Heyford, as the DfE knew we were keen to expand and and for us it was a perfect match.

“We’ve been informally supporting the leadership team up until October and that help became official and legal earlier this month with Heyford becoming part of the EPA.

“The school has got the building blocks to make it a fantastic school, it just needs the leadership to take it down that path.

“We’re really confident as a trust that at the next Ofsted inspection, Heyford Park will become a good school – the community deserves a good school, as do the students.

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“It’s an exciting partnership for the EPA and there will be lots of collaboration with the Heyford leaders.

“We’re all moving in the same direction, there’s a real buzz and energy about the place.”

In order to achieve the good rating from Ofsted, Mr Thomas explained some of the key things being addressed by the trust.

“Around teaching and learning, we’re focussing on high-quality learning strategies – assessment and tracking to ensure staff know what students need to do to improve,” he said.

“We’ve also looked at other issues including behaviour strategies and safeguarding.”

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Mr Thomas also addressed how he would balance his two roles, explaining how the EPA would play its part.

“I’m taking on the role with the support of the trust so it’s not a one-man show,” he said.

“Because of the size of the trust and the support team we have, the majority of my week will still be spent at Bartholomew.

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“It’s around the edges of the day when I’ll be involved at Heyford Park.

“We’re using the experience we’ve got in the EPA to support Heyford, we want to help and support schools that need help.

“Plus it’s a direction of travel which is right for us at the trust, we had the capacity for expansion so it’s a good time to step up.”