City school to look at longer day
- Credit: Archant Â© 2010
A city primary school will look at the possibility of extending its school day after announcing plans to join a Norfolk-based academy trust.
Larkman Primary School will become the latest member of the Inspiration Trust, previously the East Norfolk Academies Trust, from this September.
The trust, led by chief executive Rachel de Souza, already includes the new Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form Free School, due to open at Bethel Street in Norwich this year, and Great Yarmouth Primary Academy.
The Yarmouth site, formerly Greenacre Primary, caused controversy among some parents when it introduced a school day lasting until 6pm.
Larkman Primary headteacher Alison Clarke said she would be looking to that academy to find out how an extended day could help her pupils.
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'I'm not looking at going down the exact same route as Great Yarmouth Primary Academy but I will be looking at some of the same ideas,' she said.
Mrs Clarke said she would like to make the standard day a little longer to help teachers deal with the pressures of the curriculum more easily and also give them time to read to pupils every day.
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But she would also like to add additional time at the end of the day for extra curricular activities.
'We are looking at buying in specialist provision and we have also got some fantastic provision locally in the form of the Sportspark and the Garage,' she said. 'I don't think, by law, we could make those sessions compulsory but we would want to encourage the children to participate in good-quality extra-curricular activity rather than sitting at home on their Playstations.
'It's about giving them access to different opportunities.'
Governors at the primary school took their time to find a sponsor to support its move to become an academy and Mrs Clarke believes their decision will lead to improvements in standards.
Larkman Primary was rated satisfactory in a Ofsted inspection in 2011 but fell below the government's floor standard for Key Stage 2 assessments last year after a poor performance in maths.
Mrs Clarke said: 'The new academy will transform education for our community, giving our pupils the best possible start in life.'
The school is set to consult parents on the new arrangements which could include changing the site's name and uniform as well as the structure of the school day.
Mrs de Souza said: 'Our goal is simple – to give Norfolk children the best education possible. The Inspiration team is looking forward to working with Larkman to transform education in the school.'
Cromer Academy is asking parents for their views on plans to join the Inspiration Trust.
A consultation meeting was held last night to discuss the proposal although school leaders stressed no decision had yet been made.
Mrs de Souza said she would be delighted if the academy chose to join the group. 'It needs to be a community decision,' she said. 'But I've been to the school a number of times and always thought what a fabulous school it is. I think they would bring a huge amount to the trust.'