‘We are proud of what we have achieved’ - Norwich academy head speaks at Labour Party Conference

PUBLISHED: 17:11 04 October 2012

David Brunton, principal of City Academy at Earlham in Norwich.  Photo: Bill Smith

David Brunton, principal of City Academy at Earlham in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

A Norwich headteacher has told the Labour Party’s annual conference how he, his staff and students turned a struggling city school around.

Dave Brunton, principal at City Academy Norwich, told delegates and members of the shadow cabinet how education in England began to improve under the last Labour government from what had been a “stale environment”.

He said: “Academies were introduced as a vehicle for innovation for raising the educational outcomes for children across England. Especially for those in our most deprived communities.

“Becoming an academy played a big part in transforming a failing school into what is today, City Academy Norwich.”

Mr Brunton quoted the opening paragraph of an Eastern Daily Press story from 2008 which described his academy’s predecessor, Earlham High School, as “one of the worst schools in England”.

He then went on to explain how becoming an academy injected new life into the school, pushing up attendance, exam results and moral.

Mr Brunton said: “The environment we’ve created is different we have a new school building that is laden with wireless technology flexible learning spaces and furniture that combines formal traditional layouts with modern informal suites.

“Teaching is interactive, learning is presented in a range of ways using writing, movement, sound and film. The tools we use include PCs, Macs, tablets, flip cameras, lap tops, TV cameras and broadcasting equipment.

“The times in which we learn are different. We work longer; up to 5pm for sixth formers. We teach lessons that range from one hour in length to four hours in length.”

Speaking to the EDP after his speech Mr Brunton explained that his appearance at Labour conference was not an explicit sign of his support for the party.

He said: “We are proud of the City Academy and of what young people have achieved there over the last four years and this is a good place to let people know our story.”

He added: “We are not political animals as such. Our only motivation is to give students the best education we can give them. That means taking advantage of the policies of whichever party.”

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