THE NEW headteacher of a Winchester primary school has been named.

Jon James will take over the helm of Winnall Primary School, starting in September.

He will replace Nick Smith who resigned in April after the school received the lowest SATs results in Winchester district and among the bottom 200 in the country.

The school in Garbett Road is currently being refurbished and expanded by Hampshire County Council. The £2m revamp includes building two new classrooms, IT suite, special education space and re-cladding the building in brick.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr James said: “This is a very exciting time to be joining the team at Winnall Primary School.

“There are many challenges ahead but I for one am looking forward to meeting these head on, with the support of the local community, to give the children of the local area the best start we possibly can.”

Only 37 per cent of year six children achieved level four in English and maths in 2012 compared to 82 per cent at All Saints Church of England Primary School in Highcliffe and 71 per cent at Stanmore Primary School.

All three schools serve Winchester council estates and are the most deprived parts of the city.

Mr James is currently deputy headteacher at Waterside Primary in Hythe where 88 per cent of year six pupils achieved level four English and maths.

Peter Brown, chairman of the governing body, said they were delighted to appoint Mr James and an improvement plan to boost pupils' progress had already been put in place, including smaller class sizes.

Mr Brown paid tribute to former head Mr Smith, saying he had contributed a great deal to the school during his 10 years at the helm.

The current interim head is Shelia Pape who has been seconded from South View Junior School in Basingstoke.

The school is due an Ofsted inspection in November but the poor SATs results could trigger an earlier inspection. In 2010, the school was rated good with outstanding features by inspectors.