Thetford Academy principal defends timetable changes after fears raised by parent

PUBLISHED: 07:40 16 April 2014

Adrian Ball has been appointed as executive principal at Thetford Academy

Adrian Ball has been appointed as executive principal at Thetford Academy


The principal of Thetford Academy has insisted pupils’ safety has been its first priority after fears were raised over changes to its timetable.

The school wrote to parents this week to announce that its day will be finishing at 3.45pm three days a week, with a 2.45pm finish on Wednesday and Friday.

The announcement raised concerns from some parents that their children will have to walk home in the dark.

Sheena Nelson, whose son attends the school, said his walk across town to Ash Close from Croxton Road meant he would be walking in darkness in the winter months.

“I’m really worried about him having to walk in the dark as it’s not safe.

“There’s been no communication with the parents on this and I think parents would have appreciated being asked what they thought of it because a lot of us aren’t happy,” she said.

But Adrian Ball, executive principal, said the school had been “extremely thorough” when it came to changing the timetable.

“The safety of students is our first priority and this decision was made with that in mind,” he said.

“While we acknowledge they could have up to a 45-minute walk home, we are satisfied that the amount of time spent walking in darkness will be minimal.

“We’ve even gone as far as checking sunrise and sunset times so we know that, at worst, students will be walking in twilight.”

Mr Ball said the benefits of the changes will outweigh any potential negatives.

“Changing to hour-long teaching sessions was only possible with a longer day.

“But it will allow our teachers more time to be creative and to explore the central ideas of the lesson.

“We’ve done so much work on improving teaching here since Ofsted visited and now we are giving 
them the time to deliver,” he 

What do you think of the change in timetable? Let us know by emailing reporter Andrew Fitchett on


  • Does anyone really think Adrian Ball makes any of the school decisions? He is purely there to take the flak of RDS when it all goes wrong.

    Report this comment


    Thursday, April 17, 2014

  • Hethersett Academy sent a letter to parents on last day of term outlining "exciting" new changes to timetable from September. Day will end at 2.45pm Mon & Fri, 5pm Tues, Wed & Thurs.

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    Thursday, April 17, 2014

  • Academies can do what they like when it comes to changing the times of the school day. They are not bound by the Teachers Pay and Conditions Regulations

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    Jacob Burns

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

  • if the kids didnt dawdle or spend most of croxton road trying to shove each other in the road they would be home before it got dark its an easy 45 minute walk to pine close from the school.

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    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

  • My children have grown up now but I would be furious if they were being subjected to such a ridiculous timetable. This is obviously designed to suit the teachers and headmaster because it would probably not suit most working parents whose employers may not be flexible enough to allow them to finish at different times during the course of the week. Has this been tried and tested anywhere and how do parents feel regarding the different finish times? Crazy!

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    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

  • 3.45 pm is not too late for secondary school pupils to walk home. \the darkest period will be during the Christmas holidays. The street lights will be coming on and no evidence is given to support the comment that it is not safe to walk home in Thetford at that time.

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    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

  • What rubbish...being done to support the staff and school and NOT the community which of course semi-private academies can do irrespective of local opinion.

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    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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


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