A SCHOOL deemed inadequate by Ofsted is expected to be taken under the wing of an academy trust which runs a high performing neighbouring school.

The Department for Education stepped in to steer Whitworth Park School and Sixth Form College, in Spennymoor, towards academisation following a disappointing set of exam results last summer and a damning report by Ofsted inspectors whose concerns included pupil outcomes and behaviour.

The school's preferred sponsor Advanced Learning Partnership, based at Parkside Academy in Willington, has this week been approved by the Regional Schools Commissioner. The school will work closely with ALP with a view to full conversion in early 2018.

Whitworth Park's governors and interim headteacher David Stone believe the move will be a good fit and the Trust is most likely to help it develop and deliver good exam results for pupils.

Mr Stone said: "It really is a good solution for WPSSFC and ALP recognise the strengths of the school but will bring fresh ideas and approaches to help us to continue our rapid progress that the summer results have shown.

"ALP has some very experienced personnel at the head of its organisation all with a track record of leading outstanding schools and I have no doubt that this is the best possible outcome for our school."

ALP runs Parkside Academy– rated outstanding by Ofsted for more than six years and County Durham's number one school for progress in 2017– along with Staindrop Academy.

Its chief executive officer Linda Davies said ALP understands the local community and believes Whitworth Park can retain its distinct identity and benefit from sharing outstanding practice and robust support.

She said: "Parkside Academy brings to ALP and its partner schools a traditional approach to behaviour management, innovative curriculum design and an excellence in teaching.

"At the heart of the Trust is a focus on delivering the highest academic standards underpinned by developing the essential qualities of resilience and a love of learning.

"ALP believes that by working together we can share excellent practice with Whitworth Park and ensure every child achieves their best."