Government tells 25 Norfolk primary schools they could be forced to become academies

Primary school league tables were published on Thursday. Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire Primary school league tables were published on Thursday. Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Friday, December 13, 2013
10:00 AM

The government has said the 25 Norfolk primary schools which fell below its new tougher floor standard for primaries could be turned into academies.

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They were among 767 schools across England where fewer than 60pc of pupils gained at least level four – the standard expected of pupils in their final year of primary school – in reading and writing as separate subjects, as well as maths.

Norfolk Council County highlighted data which showed the county has narrowed the gap between it and the national average in the primary school league tables, published yesterday.

Mick Castle, the council’s cabinet member for schools, said: “This is very encouraging news for Norfolk’s children and schools as it shows attainment at the end of the primary phase is improving faster than the national average.

“Our ambition is to close the gap nationally and to then move above the national average and this shows we are going in the right direction.

“We have some outstanding leaders and teachers in Norfolk and our strategy is to ensure that they are working much more closely with schools that need to improve so that every child can attend a good school and can achieve their potential.”

Three Norfolk schools scored 100pc in all of the key stage two measures: Colkirk, Spooner Row and Saxlingham Nethergate.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Schools with a long history of under-performance, and who are not stepping up to the mark, will be taken over by an academy sponsor.

“The expertise and strong leadership provided by sponsors is the best way to turn around weak schools and give pupils there the best chance of a first-class education.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said the national picture showed “considerable achievement”.

She added: “The efforts of teachers and pupils are often overshadowed by the obsession with performance league tables which do nothing to raise standards. It is high time that our high-stakes, punitive accountability regime was reformed.”

What do you think about primary education in Norfolk? Tell us your views by emailing newsdesk@archant.co.uk

5 comments

  • This hypocritical,postering tosh spouted by the DfE shows how far out of touch they are. Just look at their 2 free sch failures where at Discovery Free Sch children who can't even read or do basic sums at the age of 11 have had 2 yrs of their lives ruined by this fantasy project. This report reads far, far worse than any Norfolk sch special measures one yet Norfolk people either quietly accept academisation or seem blind to how awful most academies will become living in their state of autonomy. Ok, Norfolk and Suffolk LAs have had failures but nothing on this scale or with such dire consequences. The true irony here is that the DfE have now turned to West Sussex LA to sort out the problem yet it attacks LAs at every turn. Why are we putting up with this lunacy?

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

  • Firstly, well done to those schools which are doing well. However, same old complacency from Castle again! The reality is that Norfolk schools are still lagging behind and NCC is still trying to portray this as a success. It is good that some progress is being made but lets not have these silly soundbites from Castle. As for Keates, has she not heard of our international standing? The thing that really needs reforming is her attitude, because until it changes, schools will continue to fail our children. Lastly, I still fail to understand how burdening successful schools with having to help under performing schools is a good idea. Isn't it NCC that is meant to be doing the work? What are they being paid for?

    Report this comment

    andy

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • I agree with you Andy. Im glad Ofstead have been forced to move in and deal with NCCs complacent attitude. Our children deserve better teaching standards. Ive too often heard badly performing school blame the children. It's not a childs fault that education in Norfolk is on a whole inadequent. I'm all for tough action to drag this County kicking and screaming into reality. The progress is pitiful and no amount of spin can make it sound like an achievement to be proud of. Tough action needed. Im all for unions but in they never seem to be thinking of the children when they are defending poor teaching.

    Report this comment

    AA

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • "This is great news!" said Mick Castle before holding hands with Gordon Boyd and waving off these Primary Schools as they were privatised - sorry, academised - by Lord Nash and his chums in the foreseeable future. But not before they pay their mates top dollar to be members of an interim working board after they sack people on Governing Bodies who actually had their school's best interests at heart but found themselves being beaten up by unattainable goals by HMI. Still, what's hundreds of thousands of pounds in wages between friends, eh?

    Report this comment

    Fenscape

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • Firstly, well done to those schools which are doing well. However, same old complacency from Castle again! The reality is that Norfolk schools are still lagging behind and NCC is still trying to portray this as a success. It is good that some progress is being made but lets not have these silly soundbites from Castle. As for Keates, has she not heard of our international standing? The thing that really needs reforming is her attitude, because until it changes, schools will continue to fail our children. Lastly, I still fail to understand how burdening successful schools with having to help under performing schools is a good idea. Isn't it NCC that is meant to be doing the work? What are they being paid for?

    Report this comment

    andy

    Friday, December 13, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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