Century-old City of Norwich School ‘will retain its identity’ when it becomes an Ormiston academy

City of Norwich School will become an academy sponsored by Ormiston Academies Trust. Left to right: Nicole McCartney, executive principal of Ormiston Venture Academy, Jim Nixon, headteacher of CNS, Paul Fisher, CNS chair of governors. City of Norwich School will become an academy sponsored by Ormiston Academies Trust. Left to right: Nicole McCartney, executive principal of Ormiston Venture Academy, Jim Nixon, headteacher of CNS, Paul Fisher, CNS chair of governors.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
7:30 AM

One of Norfolk’s biggest secondary schools has pledged it will retain its century-old identity when it becomes an academy sponsored by a national organisation.

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City of Norwich School, which celebrated its centenary in 2010, applied to convert to academy status last month and join the Ormiston Academies Trust, and yesterday heard the Department for Education had approved the plan.

Last year the school was told by Ofsted that it “requires improvement”, and its poor inspection rating helped to scupper two previous attempts to become a stand-alone academy school, without a sponsor.

Paul Fisher, CNS’s chair of governors since December, said: “The brand CNS is an important brand that the governors did not want to lose. It’s a school that has got a history and we want to continue with that history.”

He said governors did not want to be “swallowed up in any big entity”, and the school will retain its name, and Ormiston would not make radical changes to the school day, curriculum or school leadership.

He said governors had considered all options for improving the school, including becoming a co-operative trust and joining a local academy group, but chose Ormiston because of its ethos.

In last year’s Ofsted report, CNS was told to improve the achievement of pupils most susceptible to underachievement, something headteacher Jim Nixon said the local Ormiston schools were good at.

He added that CNS would bring its own experiences with high-achieving pupils and its sixth form to the Ormiston group of schools, which he said shared CNS’s passion for the arts.

He said: “I have no doubt that the way forward for CNS is to work in a family of schools that is nationally-based so we can share ideas, and support each other.”

He added: “I have never been so excited and enthused not only as a headteacher, but about the future of CNS, working with Ormiston.”

There will now be a consultation with parents and other interested parties, with the aim of CNS becoming an academy on September 1.

Is this the right decision for CNS? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

14 comments

  • They do!!! They top slice to pay exorbitant multi layered leadership salaries and multiple academy trust personnel which per capita makes LAs look hugely under staffed in everyway. These trusts are a massive con who spend our hard earned cash and whose bodies pocket great sums of our money.

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    Sportswagon

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • djw..."Do you honestly think that's an improvement?".....I think you have made a good point, but I will quote from the government....."Academies (including special academies) receive the same funding as maintained schools for every pupil on the register. They also get extra funding to cover the cost of services that used to be provided by the local authority.".....this is the extra money I was thinking about, but of course it is quite possible the academy 'chain' may take all or part of this extra money out before funding their school.

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    Fly Tipper

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Fly Tipper, that's a really stange way of looking at the funding issue. Do you subscribe to some sort of contagion theory of finance? As a LA-maintained school, CNS is funded through an open and transparent mechanism, in exactly the same way as other Norfolk schools. As an academy, they will get the same amount of money, but don't even see it until it's handed over by the chain, once they've taken a hefty cut for themselves. Do you honestly think that's an improvement?

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    djw

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • ......"f nothing is going to be changed by Ormiston what is the point of changing to an Academy.".....because full funding comes direct from the government before NCC can get their little hands on it....I am sure you know this already jsa, but just forgot in your excitement about the great changes taking place education today.

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    Fly Tipper

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • "Ormiston would not make radical changes to the school day, curriculum or school leadership". Really? Have you seen their track record?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    TheTruth

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • Sad to see my old school which was only just recently very good under Norfolk authority control go down this route - Gove gets his way again and it wont really help without reduced classroom sizes and incentitives for our top quality people to teach

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    curlysaysgo

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • After reading the article and comments above, firstly I would like to say as a parent of pupils at CSN it would have been nice if the school had informed us of the acceptance to become an Academy before finding out through the local newspaper. Having worked at a local school which became an Academy I can honestly say it is not going to improve CNS. I agree with djw's comments completely. Consultation with the parents won't make a blind bit of difference as I found out with a previous school becoming an Academy, at the end of the day the decision has already been made! Watch out Staff they will tell you your jobs are safe and then restructure the whole staffing by changing the slightist thing in the job titles, telling staff they need to apply for a position they have been doing for years and then they make you redundant. And as antonia64 commented if nothing is going to be changed by Ormiston what is the point of changing to an Academy. Admittedly CNS has gone down hill over the past 3 years but don't all schools, give the school a change to recover.

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    jsa

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • The City of Norwich School has already lost its century-old identity if it is underperforming and privatising. Rather than let its future be determined by financial greed with its transformation into a "brand" and "academy", we should insist the name be changed, to preserve the integrity of its better times. TomG (pupil 1955-62)

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    TomG

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • Century-year old identity? When I was going to the Hewett in the late 70searly 80s, it was known as "Eaton CNS" thereby marking it out as a bit more posher than something in Lakenham. Mind you, in those days both Eaton and Hewett (and also Earlham?) were a league above Heartsease, and the Blyth Jex. The latter two had identities with a lot of negative connotations to my generation that have been swept away over the years. Personally, I have trouble with "ethos" as a rationale, surely compatibility, resources, performance, costsincome are what are looked for in making a tie up. "Ethos" doesn't sound very measureable.

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    G_of_Norwich

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • It's very revealing that the school previously attempted to set up a stand-alone academy, and are now selling this on the basis that they need a certain kind of support that can only be offered by an academy chain. Whatever the question is, it seems the governors' answer is "Academy!" They should be careful, though - whatever Ormiston have promised them, once they get their hands on the school there's nothing to stop them doing anything they like. The head and governors could end up like other schools that thought they had an arrangement and were all sacked before the ink was dry on the academy contract. That's what happens when you do a deal with the devil.

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    djw

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • So there will be a "consultation", run by the governors who have already sold the school out and the sponsor who they've got into bed with. And what if parents say no? Will their views be respected? Get real!

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    djw

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • If Ormiston will not make radical changes to the school day, curriculum or school leadership how will this school improve...If a certain headmaster hadnt left in the first place to improve a failing school this school wouldnt now need improving..Ive seen its steady decline in my 3 childrens education over the last 10+years !!

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    antonia64

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • Such a shame that a once great school has fallen to such poor lows. The Academy status is likely to ruin it even further.

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    Mooseyt3

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • WayHey! Big bonuses all round!

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    marty r

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

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