ONE of Bolton’s outstanding schools is set to take over a struggling primary school in Radcliffe.

St Paul’s CE in Astley Bridge has been named as the “preferred sponsor” of Gorsefield Primary, which is in special measures after Ofsted marked teaching, leadership and pupils’ achievement as “inadequate”.

Gorsefield will become the second academy school in Radcliffe.

St Paul’s CE School, rated as outstanding by Ofsted, was matched with Gorsefield after being approved as a potential sponsor by the Department for Education (DfE) last autumn.

St Paul’s became an academy in 2012 and headteacher Karen Bramwell is a national leader in education.

The school, which does not currently sponsor any other academies, is now undergoing checks before the Manchester Diocese will grant it permission to run as a multi-academy.

Mrs Bramwell stressed the move would not see Gorsefield become a church school.

She said: “As an outstanding national support school with a strong track record of supporting other schools, St Paul’s is pleased to have been identified as a sponsor for Gorsefield.

“A due diligence process is under way and the sponsorship is subject to approval by the Diocese of Manchester and the Department for Education.

“The religious character of Gorsefield, however, will not be changed.”

Last year Cllr Gill Campbell, Bury Council’s cabinet member for children and families, said the authority was strongly against schools being “forced” to become academies.

A spokesman for the authority said: “Bury Council will endeavour to support Gorsefield Primary until such a time as a sponsor is officially in place.”

Representatives from education watchdog Ofsted who visited the school for a second monitoring inspection in June judged “reasonable progress” towards the removal of special measures was being made.

Inspector Aelwyn Pugh found the headteacher and deputy at Gorsefield had a “clear determination” to bring about improvement.

A spokesman for the Department for Education (DfE) said: “Gorsefield Primary School was rated inadequate by Ofsted — and clearly that is not good enough for pupils and parents. We are currently discussing next steps with the school.

“Before it can become an academy there will be a formal consultation and all responses will be taken into account.”