DETERMINED parents have launched a campaign to stop a school from being forced into becoming an academy in a 'counterproductive' move.

St Anne's Primary School, in Pinkerton Road, South Ham, has been given positive feedback by Ofsted after a visit in March.

This came after the school plunged to an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating in January after a visit in November last year - the school had been rated as ‘outstanding’ in its last inspection in 2013.

This meant the school was issued with a forced academisation order, which means that it may lose its independence and be sponsored by a school based some 20 miles away - St Joseph's Primary School, in Aldershot.

However, parents have launched a petition against the forced move after being told of the proposals on Friday last week.

Sarah Gregory, a parent with children at St Anne's, said: "I've spoken to a number of parents since we were informed of the latest Ofsted results and they keep telling me the same thing: forcing the school to become a sponsored academy is unnecessary and counterproductive.

"It's clear that the school's leaders know how to run the school – the latest Ofsted report makes that clear. Just let them get on with it.

"Even some basic research reveals that academisation has had mixed results elsewhere and the suggestion to run the school from Aldershot doesn't sound like a great idea.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We are striving for a world class education for all children regardless of background, and when we see issues of underperformance we will not hesitate to take swift action.

"St Anne’s School was issued an academy order because it was rated inadequate by Ofsted – our priority is, and always should be, the wellbeing, safeguarding and education of pupils.

“We have seen many sponsored academies dramatically improve their Ofsted results following conversion and converter academies are performing well above the national average.”

Ofsted, in its latest visit, praised the 'effective actions' by the school's senior leadership team since the last full report, and felt its improvement plans are 'fit for purpose.'

Commenting on the recent Ofsted judgment, Martine Sadie, acting headteacher of St Anne’s Primary School, said: "It's encouraging to see the difference made by the new safeguarding initiatives we've introduced - particularly in relation to our ‘school ethos and culture’, as noted by Ofsted. I have no doubt that these changes, together with the plans we have in place for further improvements, will help us to ensure that we provide best practice safeguarding at St Anne's in the future.

"The result of the inspection is a significant achievement and something of which we should all be proud.

"It's testament to the hard work and dedication of St Anne's staff and governors, and the unwavering support of pupils and parents.

"We've all played an important role in making this happen and I'm grateful for the way that the whole St Anne's family has come together to help.

"As well as confirming that we’ve taken ‘effective actions’ that have had ‘a significant impact’ in relation to safeguarding, the areas of strength identified by inspectors during the full Ofsted inspection last November continue to apply.

"These include the quality of our teaching, the breadth of our curriculum, the progress that our pupils make in a range of subjects, the behaviour of our students, and the support we provide to disadvantaged children and those with special educational needs.”

However, the recent Ofsted visit was a 'monitoring visit' rather than a full inspection so the 'inadequate' rating still remains and with it the forced academisation.

Mrs Sadie added: "We're keen to invite Ofsted back as soon as possible to conduct a full inspection and review our rating, as we believe the current judgement is now inaccurate."

A petition is also available online.