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Call for new leadership at “inadequate” Downham Market Academy

PUBLISHED: 09:04 07 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:04 07 July 2017

Downham Market Academy. Picture: Ian Burt

Downham Market Academy. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

An MP has called for new leadership at a failing secondary school.

Elizabeth Truss. Picture: Ian Burt Elizabeth Truss. Picture: Ian Burt

Downham Market Academy - formerly Downham Market High School - has been rated “inadequate” by the education watchdog.

Ofsted inspectors found leaders and governors at the school had failed to take necessary steps to improve the school since it was rated requires improvement in 2015.

Their report says governors are not holding leaders to account for poor outcomes and have accepted inaccurate information from leaders “too readily”.

It goes on to say pupils are making inadequate progress, attendance remains low and teachers often have low expectations of students.

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: “This report shows that standards are not good enough and that children in Downham Market are not getting the education they deserve.

“I pressed the Regional Schools Commissioner Tim Coulson for immediate action to be taken at a meeting two weeks ago, following previous interventions. I also visited ‎the school and met staff and students.

“It is vital that new leadership is put in at the school and that there is an Academy Trust in charge that can immediately make progress on standards and discipline.

“I understand that this in in train with a high quality trust lined up and I will be keeping up the pressure‎ until an agreement is confirmed.”

In March, the school was told to find a new academy sponsor after a warning was issued by the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) that improvements were not being made quick enough.

Now under the newly-formed Eastern Multi-Academy Trust, chief executive Duncan Ramsey said the school will be placed with another academy trust.

He said he could not reveal who it will be as the Department for Education (DfE) will make the announcement.

The 1,500-pupil academy was told it required improvement after an Ofsted inspection in 2015.

Inspectors said results were below average in maths and science, the sixth form required improvement and staff did not manage behaviour well enough.

Principal Jon Ford stepped down after in November after a visit by representatives of the Department for Education and the commissioner. At the time David Pomfret, chief executive of the CWA trust said: “The trust is fully committed to supporting Downham Market Academy, its students and staff to become a great school and we cannot afford to lose momentum in our drive for improvement.”

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