Parents at Benedict Academy have praised Step Academy Trust for "pumping a breath of fresh air” back into the school following years of scrutiny from Ofsted.

The school in Church Road, Mitcham, was taken over by Step Academy Trust (in May 2020) after it failed to please Ofsted under Chapel Street Community Schools Trust.

"For many years Benedict has changed hands and been pulled from pillar to post, too much of no effect," parents told Wimbledon Times.

"We as Benedict parents are delighted to praise the efforts of Step Academy Trust."

Benedict opened as an academy in 2014 as part of Chapel Street, and in 2016 it was graded 'Requires Improvement'.

In March 2019, the school was rated ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted and placed in special measures.

MORE: Benedict Primary School in Mitcham rated 'inadequate'

The report stated that outcomes for children were poor with standards in some year groups even declining. It also found that children with special educational needs and disability (SEND) were not given enough support to make progress.

Wimbledon Times:

Speaking to Wimbledon Times, parents said: "Upon first hearing of another change, we were a little sceptical and only wished this would be the change that made a real difference.

"For a long time, the school had gained a bad reputation holding not only the schooling staff responsible but also the children and parents.

"A point which we believe was not justified, endorsed by an Ofsted report published in 2019, stating the behaviour and efforts of the children and staff were good but unfortunately the overall effect of their hard work and leadership of the school was still inadequate.

"This only leaves us with the conclusion that the Benedict management was in dire need of support and stronger leadership.

"This void we are delighted to say has been filled with the Step Academy Trust.

"They have been instrumental in giving the school and management the support, tools and strong leadership to push the school forwards to reach its potential and provide all our children with the education they deserve.

"It has been lovely to see the new Head of Education Miss Gilmore, and the Executive Head Mr Evans, in the playground every morning and afternoon warmly welcoming children and parents along with the other Benedict staff.

"Step has also implemented a new step by step conduct structure, encouraging positive behaviour and raising the self-esteem of every pupil.

"This has given clear guidance to the children and better understanding of their learning, behaviour and the impact of how this shapes their education.

"Overall, this new tighter grip on the school’s running as stated above has been warmly received and we welcome the continuation of these positive steps and to finally turn the opinion that Benedict is a fully capable and flourishing school."