A SCHOOL branded inadequate by Ofsted has replaced its head teacher with immediate effect.

Testwood Sports College received a damning report by inspectors who visited the school at the end of last year.

Ian Appleton, who had led the school for more than ten years, spoke to the Daily Echo following the inspection publication in March.

He said he was committed to staying at the school until his retirement at the end of the current academic year and explained the changes that were already under way to improve standards and attainment of pupils.

But this week Mr Appleton has been dramatically replaced by new head teacher Jenny Pitman.

According to minutes from the last governors’ meeting, Mrs Pitman was due to take up her post in September.

But she has been installed this week, with students and parents being informed and advised to leave any cards for Mr Appleton at reception.

It comes after a follow-up visit from Ofsted inspectors judged the action plan school leaders had put together to pull itself out of special measures, as “not fit for purpose”.

The letter from inspector Sarah Hubbard criticised the lack of timescales included in the plan and levelled criticism of the senior leadership team and governors. She said: “Senior leaders do not have enough rigour in their approach to improving the academy. They are not applying high enough standards when they evaluate what they do.”

Of the school governors, the inspector said: “They have not shown sufficient urgency or initiative in developing the skills needed to drive the rapid changes required.”

The Daily Echo contacted Testwood to speak to Mrs Pitman to clarify whether Mr Appleton has been asked to step down or whether he had voluntarily handed in his resignation following the latest visit by inspectors.

Mrs Pitman declined to be interviewed, but in a statement said: “I am delighted to be given a ‘head start’ at Testwood.

“Staff and students have been very welcoming and we are now conducting a Teaching and Learning review this week as part of our Rapid Improvement Plan.”

The statement added that Mr Appleton had “kindly stepped aside” to allow Mrs Pitman to implement improvements “at the pace that the Department of Education requires.”

Chairman of governors John Lawrence also issued a statement which said: “Mr Appleton’s departure was a shock for many of the students, staff and parents but not unexpected in the circumstances.”