45-hour school week: rocket engineering and seal studies added to enrichment offer

A primary school planning a 45-hour week for children has upped its offer of free enrichment activities.

Greenacre Primary School in Great Yarmouth is now offering trips to study seals off the North Norfolk Coast and time at Cambridge University studying rocket engineering.

But headmaster Bill Holledge is still refusing to engage with concerned parents at a public meeting, and has insisted that the school's name will change –angering parents who do not wish to lose its history.

Worried parents organised a public meeting earlier this month to voice concern that the compulsory timetable for year five and six children would wear their children out and eat into family time.

They also objected to a name change to Great Yarmouth Primary Academy – stating the Greenacre name is a part of the area's heritage.

But Mr Holledge wrote: 'We feel that, given the recent history of the school and the fact that it has been one of the lowest performing schools in England, a fresh start will help the school move forward.

'We appreciate that the change of name will be unwelcome by some but the feedback which I have received has been split evenly between those in favour and those against.'

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Mr Holledge and millionaire sponsor Theodore Agnew failed to attend the public meeting on July 13, and have indicated that they will not be available at a further public meeting that ward councillors had sought to arrange on Friday, August 3.

They stated a document they have sent to parents is 'clear and comprehensive', adding they are happy to meet parents individually and that their programme of activities continues to evolve to help meet 'the needs of our pupils'.

The school is aiming to turn the failing school around by offering activities that parents could not afford themselves.

Horse-riding and dancing were promised when the academy announcement was made and now the programme has been extended.

It will include time at Cambridge University looking at rocket engineering, with children also able to try punting and taste university life. A residential trip studying seals off the North Norfolk coast is planned, as is an extended sports programme run with Norwich City Community Sports Foundation and special cooking classes run with Kiddycook.

During the summer holidays the school is investing �150,000 in fitting new boilers and central heating to create a better teaching environment come September.

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