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Academy trust invited to address community concerns about changes at Stalham Junior Academy

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 June 2014 | UPDATED: 17:36 16 June 2014

Valerie Moore, chief executive officer of the Right for Success Trust. Photo: Bill Smith

Valerie Moore, chief executive officer of the Right for Success Trust. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant

Academy trust leaders who have taken over a town junior school will be asked to step up and answer questions at a public meeting amid concerns about staffing problems.

Stalham Academy, which used to be called Stalham Junior School.Stalham Academy, which used to be called Stalham Junior School.

Stalham Town Council will write to the Right for Success Trust, based at Eaton Hall Specialist Academy close to Norwich, to lay out its plans for the former Stalham Junior School on Yarmouth Road on Monday July 7.

The school changed into Stalham Academy on May 1 after the junior school fell from good to being put into special measures following an Ofsted inspection in March last year.

Town councillor Sheila Cullingham told members and residents at a meeting on Monday she had met with Valerie Moore, chief executive officer (CEO) of the trust, and J’Anne Robertson, chairman and foundation member of the trust.

She said they confirmed five out of nine teaching staff would have left by the end of the summer term and a new Interim Executive Board (IEB), due to meet for the first time today, had nine months to turn the school around.

But rumours remain rife over the status of Kim Breen, headteacher of the junior school, who allegedly has not been at the school since it turned into an academy.

Mrs Cullingham said: “There is no acting headteacher. The trust won’t say where Mrs Breen is and what she is doing...It is a worry because the academy is a school that all our children go to. It is important that nothing is going wrong there.”

Mrs Cullingham was told in the private meeting Mrs Breen was the academy’s headteacher; the IEB would be recruiting and training up people; and qualified staff would be recruited.

An email statement from Miss Moore, via Norfolk County Council, said: “The school’s headteacher is currently away from the academy. I would like to reassure parents that we have strong leadership in place from experienced educators, principally the chairman of the trust and the CEO are providing leadership support to the deputy head Andrew Howard who has taken on the appropriate deputisation for the headteacher and is ensuring continuity for the academy.

“We are also drawing on the experience of the trust to support teaching and learning in the interim period. This has helped to minimise any impact on the children.”

Glyn Wilson told council public question time: “I understand the previous governors have all gone and I’m not certain there is any local representation. There have been lots of rumours that the headteacher, who was running the school the last day the local education authority was in charge, has not been at the academy.”

Another Stalham resident, Phil Hanton, said: “My concern is the town has lost its school. The people running it are a group from Norwich.”

Town councillor Pauline Grove-Jones said: “If I had children at the school I would be absolutely livid. We want to know what the trust has planned for the future.”

The next town council meeting on July 7 will start at 7.30pm in the Town Hall on the High Street.

What do you think about the academy changes? Email sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk

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