How 'inadequate' school is making strides towards 'bright future'

Chris Read, interim headteacher at Bishop's primary in Thetford, says the school is on the right track

Chris Read, interim headteacher at Bishop's primary in Thetford, says the school is on the right track - Credit: DNEAT

A primary school previously given the lowest possible rating by inspectors is on the path to "a bright future", insists its headteacher. 

The Bishop’s Church of England Primary Academy, in Thetford, was judged to be "inadequate" by Ofsted in October 2019. 

The new look Bishop's Primary School at Thetford after a £3.2m refurbishment. Picture: Denise Bradle

Bishop’s Church of England Primary Academy, in Thetford, was rated as "inadequate" by Ofsted in 2019  - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

A report said the school, part of the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT), had significant improvements to make relating to quality of teaching and leadership.

Inspectors also found “failings in the quality of education” which meant too many pupils were not achieving what is expected for their age.

But Bishop's has since received a trio of positive monitoring visits, including one in February and the latest in May

A letter sent by Ofsted to interim headteacher, Chris Read, said staff had been taking "effective action" to address deficiencies. 

Chris Read, Interim Headteacher, The Bishop’s Church of England Academy, Thetford. Picture: DNEAT/St

Chris Read, interim headteacher at Bishop’s Church of England Primary Academy, in Thetford - Credit: DNEAT/Steven Sparkes/Perfect Pos


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And, while admitting there is much work still to do, Mr Read believes the school is on the right track. 

“The February and May Ofsted reports gave us positive endorsements of the work of the academy," he said.

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"We recognise we need to address some further issues as we strive to become better and better.

"We said at the time: if we can attain an encouraging Ofsted report in the most challenging of educational teaching times, then we have a bright future ahead."

The sign at the Bishop's Primary School at Thetford . Picture: Denise Bradley

Bishop’s CE Primary Academy, in Thetford, has received three positive inspections since its "inadequate" rating - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Heading into a new school year, efforts to improve Bishop's have seen the creation of new curriculum plans and training schedules. 

A new initiative called the Chestnut group, which gives extra help to those who need it, has also been launched. 

“The new Chestnut group is designed for children who have been finding school difficult and have gaps in their learning," added Mr Read. 

"It allows us to adapt the curriculum to help them make stronger progress and keep integrated with their class. Already significant improvements can be seen in learning and behaviour.

Chris Read, Interim Headteacher, The Bishop’s Church of England Academy, Thetford. Picture: DNEAT/St

Chris Read, interim headteacher at Bishop’s Church of England Primary Academy, in Thetford - Credit: DNEAT/Steven Sparkes/Perfect Pos

“This project is part of our wider approach to support children’s personal development and wellbeing."

Sharon Collins, whose son is in the new class, said forming Chestnut was the best thing the school had ever done. 

She added: "My child is the most settled he has been in over a year.

"I'm happy he's back to being himself and is excited to go to school."

The new look Bishop's Primary School at Thetford after a £3.2m refurbishment. Picture: Denise Bradle

Bishop’s Church of England Primary Academy, in Thetford, was rated as "inadequate" by Ofsted in 2019  - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012


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