THE headteacher of two Basingstoke secondary schools, one of which was graded as “inadequate” by Ofsted in March, has resigned after 10 years in charge, leaving three of the town’s schools without permanent leaders.

Betty Elkins wrote to parents of Cranbourne Business and Enterprise College saying: “It is now the right time for me to move on.”

Mrs Elkins was appointed executive headteacher at Fort Hill Community School, in Winklebury, in 2013 and has since been leading both schools.

She has also resigned from this position.

As previously reported in The Gazette, Brighton Hill Community School is also without a permanent headteacher after Charlie Currie left for “personal reasons” in April.

Following Mrs Elkins’ resignation, Cranbourne is set to become an academy, and action has begun to find a sponsor.

The school, in Wessex Close, received a damning report from Ofsted which said there were problems with racist and homophobic bullying and the safeguarding of children.

Mrs Elkins told The Gazette at the time that she would fight the grading.

But in her letter to parents she said the education watchdog had refused to change its overall judgement.

She said Ofsted had evidence of students dropping litter, hearing swearing in the playground and had witnessed a student absconding the school site between lessons by jumping over a fence.

Mrs Elkins added: “Whilst we are not proud of any of these things, we cannot argue with them, although, I do find it harsh that these are the reasons given for a school being judged as inadequate.”

She criticised Ofsted for failing to send an inspector within its specified three to six months of a school being graded as “inadequate”.

Fort Hill, in Kenilworth Road, has suffered a turbulent time in recent years after it was listed as one of 312 schools in England to fall below the floor standard for its GCSE results last year.

Cranbourne has also seen a drop in its GCSE results, from 65 per cent achieving the ‘benchmark’ figure in 2013, to 54 per cent this year.

Mrs Elkins, who joined Cranbourne in April 2006, said she had been “overwhelmed” by the support following the Ofsted report, adding: “I cannot begin to express the feeling of solidarity which we have witnessed. However for a variety of reasons, both professional and personal, it is now the right time for me to move on from Cranbourne.”

Malcolm Christian, who retired as headteacher of The Hurst Community School last year, has been appointed as acting headteacher at Cranbourne, and Vicky Essex, head of school at Fort Hill, has been asked to take on the role of acting head there.

John Crawford, chair of governors at Cranbourne, said they are looking to appoint an “equally experienced leader” to take on the acting headship after the autumn half term, at which point Mr Christian will remain a member of the leadership team.

Work is also being carried out to transform Cranbourne into an academy. Academies were created by the Government to prevent the standard of education in the UK from falling further behind that of other countries.

Those schools which are considered “under-performing” are matched with a sponsor with a strong track record in raising standards.

Mr Crawford said: “Over the next few months, we will be working hard to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible, so that there is as little disruption to the students as possible.”

He added: “Great progress has been made since our disappointing Ofsted report.”

Mr Crawford praised Mrs Elkins for her “tremendous commitment” adding: “We sincerely thank her for her dedication to the schools.”

He described her commitment to the extra workload of leading two schools as “exemplary”.