PARENTS shocked by a poor Ofsted report are fighting against plans for the school to be run as an academy.

In December 2017 inspectors visited Waltham Holy Cross, less than a year after headteacher Erica Barnet took over a school with a history of difficulties.

At odds with the views of many parents who believed Mrs Barnet's holistic approach to education was having positive effects, Ofsted gave Holy Cross a damning 'Inadequate' rating in March.

Under the 2016 Education and Adoption Act, the school will now become an academy and be run by a sponsor chosen by Regional Schools Commissioner Sue Baldwin.

The plan has left many parents and children fearful for the future of their school.

Lauren Kirk has seen great improvements in her autistic son's emotional wellbeing and educational attainment since joining the school.

She said: "When he struggles, his teacher is quick to spot the signs and intervene, often offering sensory breaks and alternative provision before his anxieties would be evident to anyone watching.

"My son is thriving at Waltham Cross in all aspects and this is down to the quality first teaching he receives from his class teacher, the support staff and the hard work of the SENCo who has been on our side from day one to ensure the provision is right for him."

While the majority of parents accept Waltham Cross's path to academisation is all but assured following the Ofsted report, they are determined the school should have a role in deciding which sponsor takes over.

Like Mrs Kirk, parent Stacie Kendrick believes this kind of individual attention and the school's community atmosphere could be lost if brought under a business backed academy.

"I understand we are now being forced to become a academy but it’s disgusting that parents and teachers do not have any say in which academy we choose," she said.

"I worry so much that money always seems to be the deciding factor in decisions like this and not what is best for the children and their education.

"A lot of the cooperate academy’s are a one size fits all learning and would definitely not suit my children at all and probably a lot of others. Their teachers and us know our children and the best way that suits individual needs, so how can people that have never even stepped foot in our school let alone met the wonderful teachers and children decide who should be best to take over?"

While Ofsted spokesperson would not say whether the governmental body would consider re-inspecting the school, they said Ofsted was 'confident' the report was an 'accurate reflection of the school'.

They added: “We understand that it can be disappointing when a school receives a negative inspection result. However, it is important that we provide clear and objective information for parents and others about the school’s performance.”