FUNDING could be withdrawn from a troubled Christchurch secondary school if dramatic improvements are not made by the Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) which runs it.

A so-called Minded to Terminate letter has been sent by the Regional Schools Commissioner which means The Grange could be forced to leave the Twynham Learning Trust.

The Somerford school’s head teacher, Jane Asplin-Locke, has also left following a period of long-term sick leave.

It is now being run by deputy head Pete Nealon and Liz Garman, a school improvement adviser on secondment from Twynham School.

The letter from Regional Schools Commissioner Lisa Mannall said: “I need to be satisfied that the Academy can achieve rapid and sustained improvement. If I am not satisfied this can be achieved I will consider issuing a Termination Warning Notice.”

The Redvers Road school, which has 477 pupils aged 11-19, received a damning report from Ofsted and was graded Inadequate following an inspection in March.

Lisa Mannall said she is particularly concerned that pupils do not make good progress, that the school’s declining performance has not been addressed quickly enough and that attendance is poor with a high level persistent absence.

She is concerned that the behaviour of pupils is poor and that it is impacting on their learning. The curriculum lacks breadth, teachers’ expectations of pupils are not high enough and pupils do not take sufficient pride in their work, according to Ofsted.

Now the Trust must submit a copy of its post-inspection action plan, information on the steps taken to improve pupils’ attendance, and evidence that the local governing body is providing “robust” challenge to the school’s leaders.

An education adviser will work with the Twynham Learning Trust to help it improve in the inadequate areas, and Mannall or a member of her team will observe a meeting of the trust’s board before the end of the academic year.

The trust must also commission an external review of the school’s use of pupil premium funding, as recommended by Ofsted.

The Twynham Learning Trust runs The Grange, Twynham School, Twynham primary, Stourfield Infants, Stourfield Junior and Christchurch Infants.

Chair of the Twynham Learning Trust Board Debbie Place said: “The report highlights that not enough has been done to improve the standard of education for students at The Grange School. As a Board we were too slow in identifying this, however significant work had already been done to rectify this, including the appointment of two senior leaders in January 2018.

“I am pleased that the inspectors recognise the impact of this support and we are confident that the necessary improvements can be made.”

Jy Taylor, head teacher of Twynham School, added: “Our two schools have worked increasingly closely in recent months. The vision for the Trust has always been to ensure that all young people of Christchurch and the immediate area receive a high quality education.”