FEARS that a failing Widnes school could close have been dispelled by education chiefs.

A scathing Ofsted inspection slammed West Bank Primary School branding its leadership and management, quality of teaching, achievement, behaviour and safety of pupils as ‘inadequate’.

The school has been placed in special measures and experts drafted in by the Department of Education to restore standards.

Ofsted inspector Rebecca Lawton said: “Pupils make insufficient progress and do not reach high enough standards by the time they leave the school, particularly in writing. Results have dropped significantly below the national standard.

“Senior leaders are not ensuring that action plans and performance targets are focused on.”

Speaking exclusively to The World, Dr Harry Ziman, chairman of the newly-appointed Interim Executive Board (IEB) said: “The school is not closing.

“Our job is to strengthen leadership and respond to issues Ofsted has raised.

“We have a clear mandate to bring about change.

“The school has already improved but it is a long term thing. It won’t happen overnight.”

Pam Wright OBE, executive principal of Wade Deacon High School, and Steve Nyakatawa, head of school improvement at Halton Council, are working with experienced head teacher Paula Moreton, who turned a failing school around, and education consultant Margaret Cassin on the IEB.

Dr Ziman said: “This is the fourth school in special measures that I have helped. We have tried and tested strategies for school improvements.

“Staff are working really hard to improve the school. It is a team effort.

“Staff need the co-operation and support of parents.

“We are aware of the very strong local identity in this community. I have met with parents and we will tell them what is going on as and when we can.”

He said head teacher Martin Quinn is currently off sick but is still in post.