SCHOOL leaders are optimistic about the future of a once-troubled Tilbury primary school as it enters a new era.

The process of turning Tilbury Manor into an academy - under the wing of the Gateway Learning Community - was finalised on Thursday.

And as part of its transformation, the school will be called the Tilbury Pioneer Academy.

It will host children in Reception, Year One and Year Two until September when a new Reception class will be added. As time goes on the Dickens Road school will fill up again in each year group.

Pupils in Year Six at the current school will move to the Gateway Free School next month and pupils in Years Three, Four and Five will follow in September.

In the last 18 months, the school has been dogged by poor performance and concerns over its finances. Its entire governing body walking out in February 2013.

But since coming under the guidance of the Gateway Learning Community - which already runs the Gateway Academy, Gateway Primary Free School, Herringham Primary Academy and Lansdowne Primary Academy - the school has improved.

In a recent inspection, Ofsted praised the new leadership team, including executive headteacher Viki Read and head of school Dan George.

Mrs Read said: “I am delighted to move Tilbury Pioneer Academy into Academy status and join the other GLC schools in the area. With Head of School, Mr Dan George, in place I feel that the school and its pupils will benefit greatly.”

The new-found optimism around the school is shared by Kevin Sadler, the Gateway Learning Community chief executive.

He said: “There’s a history of under-achievement at the former Tilbury Manor and nobody would deny that. However at the moment, if we look at the management team that are now in place, along with the most recent performance figures, you can see some green shoots in the new Tilbury Pioneer Academy and I think it’s going to be a big success.”