Century-old City of Norwich School ‘will retain its identity’ when it becomes an Ormiston academy

City of Norwich School will become an academy sponsored by Ormiston Academies Trust. Left to right:

City of Norwich School will become an academy sponsored by Ormiston Academies Trust. Left to right: Nicole McCartney, executive principal of Ormiston Venture Academy, Jim Nixon, headteacher of CNS, Paul Fisher, CNS chair of governors. - Credit: Archant

One of Norfolk's biggest secondary schools has pledged it will retain its century-old identity when it becomes an academy sponsored by a national organisation.

City of Norwich School, which celebrated its centenary in 2010, applied to convert to academy status last month and join the Ormiston Academies Trust, and yesterday heard the Department for Education had approved the plan.

Last year the school was told by Ofsted that it 'requires improvement', and its poor inspection rating helped to scupper two previous attempts to become a stand-alone academy school, without a sponsor.

Paul Fisher, CNS's chair of governors since December, said: 'The brand CNS is an important brand that the governors did not want to lose. It's a school that has got a history and we want to continue with that history.'

He said governors did not want to be 'swallowed up in any big entity', and the school will retain its name, and Ormiston would not make radical changes to the school day, curriculum or school leadership.

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He said governors had considered all options for improving the school, including becoming a co-operative trust and joining a local academy group, but chose Ormiston because of its ethos.

In last year's Ofsted report, CNS was told to improve the achievement of pupils most susceptible to underachievement, something headteacher Jim Nixon said the local Ormiston schools were good at.

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He added that CNS would bring its own experiences with high-achieving pupils and its sixth form to the Ormiston group of schools, which he said shared CNS's passion for the arts.

He said: 'I have no doubt that the way forward for CNS is to work in a family of schools that is nationally-based so we can share ideas, and support each other.'

He added: 'I have never been so excited and enthused not only as a headteacher, but about the future of CNS, working with Ormiston.'

There will now be a consultation with parents and other interested parties, with the aim of CNS becoming an academy on September 1.

Is this the right decision for CNS? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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