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Trust which is taking over Downham Market Academy says it will take a hands-on approach to running it

PUBLISHED: 10:32 12 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:32 12 July 2017

Downham Market Academy. Picture: Ian Burt

Downham Market Academy. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

The head of the trust which has taken over Downham Market Academy says it will take a “hands-on” approach to getting it out of special measures.

The former Downham High School was given an inadequate rating by watchdog Ofsted two weeks ago. It came after the 1,500-pupil school was told it must find a new sponsor by the College of West Anglia Academies Trust.

MORE - New trust takes over at Downham Market Academy

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MORE - Academy rated “inadequate” and placed in special measures

Now the Cambridgeshire Educational Trust has been appointed to take over the academy by the Regional Schools Commission. Its chief executive Lucy Scott said it had drawn up an action plan for improving the school.

“We have spent the last couple of weeks in Downham Market Academy talking to staff, finding out what’s going on in the school,” she said. “We’ve also been talking with the regional schools commissioner, the existing trust and the MP.”

The Cambridgeshire trust runs one other secondary school - Chesterton Community College, in Cambridge, which is ranked in the top 5pc of schools.

Its last Ofsted report gave it a “good” rating, adding: “Students make good progress and achieve well from typically average starting points. Attainment by Year 11 in GCSE examinations is above average. Most teaching is good, some is outstanding.”

Chesterton’s deputy head, Rolf Purvis, has been appointed head at Downham Market. Mrs Scott said he had started recruiting staff.

“Our approach is going to be very hands-on,” she said. “The key thing we have to focus on is getting the school conifdent going forward.”

Some parents are concerned at the state of school buildings, on Bexwell Road.

“It’s important for us to be transparent with parents,” said Mrs Scott. “we want to decorate, we want to get the interior looking as good as we can.”

She added windows also needed replacing and the trust would be applying for funding for improvements to the buildings.

In 2015, Ofsted said the academy “required improvement”. It said senior managers did not apply high enough standards when evaluating teaching, while GCSE results were below average in some subjects.

Last week, they gave it an “inadequate” rating, saying leaders and

governors had failed to make improvements.

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