COLOMA Convent Girls' School has confirmed it is in talks to sponsor Archbishop Lanfranc when it becomes an academy. The Coloma Trust declined to comment when the Advertiser first reported there had been discussions between the two schools in March. However, the trust announced today (Wednesday) it had been invited by the Department for Education (DfE) to work with Archbishop Lanfranc. The DfE had been searching for a sponsor for the school, in Mitcham Road, since it was placed in special measures by Ofsted in October last year, after poor exam results which saw just 41 per cent of students reach the minimum requirements in their GCSEs. Coloma, in Shirley, is one of the borough's most popular schools and topped the exam league tables last summer. It would be the second time the trust has worked with a struggling secondary school, having taken over Selsdon High, now called Quest Academy, in September 2009. In the years since, the number of pupils reaching the government's GCSE benchmark increased from 23 per cent to 62 per cent. Coloma Trust said the new Archbishop Lanfranc Academy will be led by Quest vice principal, Michael del Rio, supported by Quest principal Andy Crofts. Maureen Martin, head teacher at Coloma, will oversee all three schools. Mrs Martin said: "The new Archbishop Lanfranc Academy will provide an opportunity for The Coloma Trust to extend its positive, life-changing reach to hundreds more Croydon school children. "The high standards and expectations that have brought Coloma students such success over the years, have proven to be transferable to other school environments. "We have seen it in the progress being made at The Quest Academy and we intend to see it again at Archbishop Lanfranc." Mrs Martin said the trust had "big plans" for Lanfranc, including a new sixth form to accompany the rebuild agreed by the government. Mr Crofts said: "I am looking forward to the challenges we will face at Archbishop Lanfranc and ensuring that all students benefit from the outstanding education offered by Coloma. "I have worked alongside Maureen and Michael for four years now and I am confident our joint expertise will lead Archbishop Lanfranc to future excellence." Mr del Rio said he was "thrilled" to have been offered the position of principal at the new academy. He added: "As vice principal of The Quest Academy for the last four years, I have been immersed in the values and principles that run through the Coloma Trust schools: love, responsibility, integrity, leadership and service. "It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to offer the same to a new group of students." Current Lanfranc head teacher David Clark was not available for comment.
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