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Downham Market Academy placed under special measures and downgraded to inadequate by Ofsted

PUBLISHED: 14:37 05 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:38 05 July 2017

Downham Market Academy. Picture: Ian Burt

Downham Market Academy. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

One of Norfolk’s biggest secondary schools has been put into special measures after receiving an inadequate rating from the education watchdog.

Downham Market Academy Sixth Form. Picture: Ian BurtDownham Market Academy Sixth Form. Picture: Ian Burt

The Ofsted grading comes one month after Downham Market Academy joined a new academy trust.

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.

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

MORE: Downham Market Academy told it must find new sponsor after warning letter

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

But inspectors praised the sixth form - the only area of the school rated as good - and described it as the “beacon” of the school where some pupils were exceeding national averages.

The inspection took place whilst the school was under the College of West Anglia Academies Trust, which the report accused of providing little effective support.

It said: “A small group of governors, from both the local governing body and the trust, monitors the impact of actions identified in the improvement plan.

“However, this has happened too late to improve outcomes sufficiently for this year.”

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 they will be as the Department for Education (DfE) will make the announcement.

Dr Ramsey said: “We are disappointed with the outcome, last summer we were disappointed with the results.

“I’m pleased to see the action plan is beginning to work and really pleased with the sixth form, it’s fantastic news. We are trying our best and the recent improvements have been recognised.

“We are in contact with the DfE and the potential trust so they know what we have been doing to improve Downham Market Academy so they can take over.”

No one at the school was available for comment.

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