A PRIMARY school looks set to become an academy after Ofsted inspectors found it ‘required improvement’.

St Luke and St Philips CofE in Blackburn has been approved to become an academy with the conversion expected by April.

The school has already been included in a new Government report by Michael Gove’s department that says the academisation process is improving standards nationally.

The report also features Pendle Primary Academy, formerly Walter Street Primary School, which the Department of Education expects to show better results this year.

However, unions claim the Department for Education is ‘claiming credit’ for changes that were already happening.

The Government report said the two schools were among 645 under-performing primaries nationally that are now under the wing of academy sponsors and doing well.

The Blackburn Church of England Diocese said St Luke’s sought academy status after the disappointing Ofsted report last February. It will now change from a CofE maintained school to a CofE academy.

Deputy director of education at the diocese Fred Kershaw said: “They were not performing very well but have improved significantly. The governors willingly sought out academy status as the best way forward.”

Pendle Primary Academy said standards had risen since becoming an academy in March. The school also said they were enjoying more popularity as their numbers have surged from 360 to in excess of 400.

Headteacher Julie Burnside said: “We have seen everyone, including parents, become very positive about the school. Standards are going up and we expect to see a good outcome this year.” Where results were available in the DfE report, sponsored academies had improved their performance by three percentage points, against an improvement in all schools of one percentage point.

Relating to Pendle Primary and St Luke and St Philips, a DfE spokesman said: “These two schools are too recent for current figures, but we’d expect to see improvement within the first year.”

However the ‘successes’ were disputed by Simon Jones, Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen NUT representative.

He said: “The Government is claiming credit for improvements that would have happened anyway. The same thing is happening with Darwen Vale. They are in academy talks, yet their exam results are already really good.”