Audlem St James' School

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At last a decision has been made about the governance of Audlem St James' school with the confirmation last week from Cheshire East that an Interim Executive Board (IEB) has replaced the existing Governing Body as from 1st September and the members of the IEB have been appointed.

As any one will know who is closely connected with the school, or has followed news of the school in local newspapers and Audlem Online, the past 18 months have been difficult in the extreme with opinions divided about the way forward and many difficult meetings held.

Audlem Online has, through a Freedom of Information request, obtained a large number of relevant documents from Cheshire East council who applied for the IEB. We could write much about what has happened but have decided that on this occasion our journalistic instincts should come second to the school's interests.

The past eighteen months have been difficult enough for staff, governors, pupils, parents and guardians and anyone else in the community concerned about the situation without a detailed public dissection of what has happened and why.

The overwhelming need now, whatever views are held about the school's past governance and performance, is, for the sake of current and future pupils, to give whatever help is possible to see the school's ratings and reputation improve.

A school like Audlem's should and can achieve 'good' or ideally 'excellent' ratings in its OfSTED inspections.  'Satisfactory' is, quite simply, unsatisfactory for a school in an area like this.

The last OfSTED inspection in 2010 showed that engagement with parents, guardians and the local community was a notable weakness. Audlem Online, with near 1,000 readers a day, will continue to try to ensure that news of the school's plans and progress is broadcast to the wider village community.

Over the past eighteen months, we have not published Chatbox comments about the school as it was felt this would simply raise the temperature of debate and would not help the school. That decision has been welcomed by all sides that have contacted us or we have spoken to.

We will maintain this position and trust you, our readers, understand this stance. We do hope, however, that we will be able to publish ever more news of progress at Audlem St James' school so that it can return to being run by local volunteer governors as soon as possible.