A struggling Widnes primary school will finally become an academy at the end of November.

Simms Cross Primary School will formally join the Warrington Primary Academy Trust (WPAT) at the end of the month after a series of delays.

The school was rated “inadequate” by Ofsted in November 2018 and was supposed to become an academy last year, but delays to the academisation process led to “a period of uncertainty”.

That has now ended with the move to WPAT being finally confirmed and a new executive headteacher, Paula Warding, taking over. Mrs Warding is currently headteacher at Alderman Bolton Primary in Warrington.

Louise Smith, WPAT chief executive, said: “We’re looking forward to the smooth transfer of the school into the trust at the end of this month. 

“We know that the school’s staff, children and parents have had much to deal with over the past few months with the consequences of the pandemic. 

“I want to reassure them that executive headteacher Paula Warding is working closely with interim head Nicola Kearney to make sure that the transition of Simms Cross Primary into WPAT will be a seamless one. 

“All of the measures adopted by the school to successfully manage covid-19 risks will continue as before and there will be no change to the school’s uniform.”

Staff at Simms Cross are to receive additional training from WPAT staff to improve the quality of teaching at the school.

The academy trust operates five primary schools in Warrington and one other, Ditton Primary, in Widnes. 

Two of the schools are rated “outstanding” and three “good”. Ditton Primary has not yet been inspected since becoming an academy in July 2019.

Ms Smith added: “Everyone at WPAT is looking forward to working really closely with the team at Simms Cross, supporting staff to raise standards in areas that have been identified as needing development, and building on the strengths of the school’s dedicated staff. 

“We think the move will open up a really exciting new chapter for the school, its pupils and their families.”

Anne Forsyth, chair of governors at Simms Cross Primary School, said: “The governing body is keen to work closely with Paula Warding, who, we are sure, will continue and expand the progress made by Nicola Kearney and the Simms Cross staff. 

“As always, the focus of our work will be to give our children the best possible education.”