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Standards at Downham Market Academy “unacceptably low”

Downham Market Academy principal Jon Ford stepped down last month. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Downham Market Academy principal Jon Ford stepped down last month. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2013

Education bosses are putting an urgent action plan in place at Downham Market Academy after a warning that “the standards of pupils’ performance” were “unacceptably low”.

It comes just a month after the principal Jon Ford stepped down with immediate effect, following news that results at the school had not improved. Phil Hearne was appointed as interim principal for the rest of this academic year.

A warning letter was sent by the regional schools commissioner , who oversees academies, after a recent visit raised concerns.

It does not mean that the school could be shut down, but if performance standards do not show a rapid improvement, a decision could be taken to find another sponsor for the academy.

The school is part of the CWA Academy Trust, whose chief executive David Pomfret said: “The trust leadership ...recognises that progress towards improving standards in the past two years has not been sufficient.

“As a result, the trust is putting in place a detailed action plan and additional resources to address the issues raised by the RSC, particularly around concerns about the quality of leadership, weakness in marking, assessment and feedback, poor behaviour for learning and weak teaching and learning.”

He added that Mr Hearne, who has a track record of transforming under-performing schools, would oversee the changes required during the rest of this academic year.

Mr Pomfret added: “The trust is fully committed to supporting Downham Market Academy to become a successful school where parents can be confident their children will be supported and inspired to achieve their academic potential, and I believe the plan we are now implementing will deliver this.”

Have the problems at the academy affected your child’s results? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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