New sponsors hope to change fortunes of Thetford Academy

PUBLISHED: 13:02 08 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:23 09 July 2013

Thetford Academy headteacher Cathy Spillane. Photo by Simon Finlay

Thetford Academy headteacher Cathy Spillane. Photo by Simon Finlay

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A struggling academy has revealed its next step to turn its fortunes around by changing its sponsors.

Thetford Academy, which was put into special measures by Ofsted in March, will be sponsored by the Inspiration Trust who will take over from sponsors Easton and Otley College.

David Lawrence, principal of Easton and Otley College, said: “After much consideration, the initial sponsors concluded that our original sponsorship arrangement was not capable of providing the particular and level of support, colleagues and students required, and that it was in the best interests of the students and academy to find an alternative arrangement.”

The Inspiration Trust, led by Rachel de Souza, has already turned around Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey and will take over Cromer Academy in September.

Yesterday’s announcement, which was revealed in a briefing to staff on Friday afternoon, marks another chapter in the school’s short but difficult history.

The academy was formed by merging Rosemary Musker with Charles Burrell High School in 2010, but has struggled with pupils split over two sites.

Pupils at its northern campus on Croxton Road are studying while work to build the £19m school goes on around them.

The school’s headteacher and administration are based in temporary offices while diggers driving around the school have become a common sight for pupils.

Headteacher Cathy Spillane said: “It is the start of a new era for Thetford students. More resources, more opportunities and expert support for our children.

“We will be working closely with Mrs de Souza and her team on raising achievement and improving standards; everything needed to make us an outstanding school.”

The new building, which opens in September, will include a sports hall, drama studio, atrium, library, as well as studios for design and technology, science and music.

Mrs de Souza, the CEO of Inspiration Trust, said: “Our goal is simple – to give Thetford children the best education possible.

“I want to see the academy students winning places at the best universities and getting the best jobs.”

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss welcomed the move. She said: “Inspiration has a proven track record of outstanding achievements in transforming education in Norfolk.”


  • "South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss welcomed the move. She said: “Inspiration has a proven track record of outstanding achievements in transforming education in Norfolk.” I'd love to hear about this track record. All I can see is one ex head who did very well getting a school to outstanding, then was given the other on a plate without a shred of credible evidence. Some track record!

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    Monday, July 8, 2013

  • Here we go again. MusgraveJohn failed, so who can believe the latest initiative can succeed. The academy had an action plan branded 'not fit for purpose' written by a group of academics on high salaries. What does that say Mrs Spillane, Mr Boyd, Mr Lawrence, Mr Roffe and Dr West. The only person in this group who was interested in the academy succeeding was the principal, all the rest were only interested in their own collegesagendas

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    Jacob Burns

    Monday, July 8, 2013

  • Politics pure and simple ....... and simply disgraceful. This group have had nothing to do with Cromer schs and the one G Yarmouth Academy is just Satisfactory so hardly as you report. This is tantamount to lying!!!!

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    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

  • DeSouza is the tories answer to Jo Shuter. She is spinning like mad to promote this political initiative, and doubtless milking huge personal rewards along the way. Have we seen any results from the academies yet to show that they have been 'turned around'? Of course not - its all political propaganda via OFSTED.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Monday, July 8, 2013

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