A failing Cardiff faith school can become the best in the city, according to the chairman of a new board set up to run it.
Dr Martin Price will lead a seven-strong board to run St Alban’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Tremorfa for the next year after the school was judged to require special measures.
The panel represents the first time in Wales that an Interim Executive Board has been put in place to run a failing faith school.
In a report published last month, inspectorate Estyn found St Alban’s had “systemic failures” in leadership over a three-year period while prospects for improvement were “unsatisfactory”.
This week, Dr Price wrote to parents to introduce the board, including himself.
He marked out his ambition, saying: “We will be working closely with the interim headteacher and supporting her and all the staff at the school.
“We want St Alban’s to be the best school in Cardiff.”
He told the Echo he and board would be focusing on Estyn’s action plan to try to achieve his aim.
He said: “You are talking about a heavyweight bunch of people who can make a difference.
“The priority from our point of view is getting children the best education they can because you only have one chance.
“The indication is it will last at least about 12 months, maybe as long as two years.
“The main thing is improving the quality of maths and reading.”
Dr Price, vice chairman of the Archdiocese of Cardiff schools, said the board would be building on the work of interim head Liz Counsell, whom Estyn judged to have a “significant impact” in her short time seconded from Lakeside Primary School.
“It is a good school. Numbers are keeping up. We are not talking about a mass exodus from the school, which is something you might expect from a school in special measures,” he said.
“We should be looking at the strengths of the school and supporting staff to deliver education properly.”
He said he would hold a meeting with parents in the second half of term to discuss the Estyn action plan.
Nick Jarman, Cardiff council’s corporate director for people, said: “We are immensely grateful to the members of the IEB for taking this on. Secondly, we were convinced and remain convinced this was the right course of action.”
Mr Jarman added he was hopeful of a “rapid resolution” to “HR issues” which had seen some staff suspended.