Costessey’s Ormiston Victory Academy marks great year alongside Horatio Nelson

A record-breaking year was marked in style as pupils and community figures were joined by an Arctic adventurer and even Horatio Nelson for the first anniversary of a Costessey school.

Ormiston Victory Academy celebrated the occasion yesterday morning with balloons, musical performances and awards for a number of its pupils, as well as an appearance from the seafaring legend himself to mark Trafalgar Day.

Also present to give inspiration to the pupils with a speech was Norfolk explorer Edward Parker, who led a recent expedition to the North Pole and is founder of charity Walking with the Wounded.

Rachel De Souza is principal at the academy, which opened in the site of the former Costessey High School and takes the name of the Norfolk-born hero's ship at the Battle of Trafalgar.

She said the academy had been recognised as the 'most improved school in the UK' and pointed to a 27pc improvement in the number of students getting five GCSEs A*-C including English and maths.

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She added: 'It's a very special day for us and I'm both proud of our school's performance since last year and humbled by Edward's presentation.

'It's also very humbling to have the members of the community here and realise how many people give up their time and energy for us.'

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Praising the role of the governors, she said that she felt instilling a sense of discipline was the key ingredient to the school's rapid progress and pointed to the fact that from 360 incidents of one day exclusion, there had been less than 39 in the past year.

Mr Parker, who lives near Reepham, said he was 'dumbstruck' by the improvements in the school, before adding: 'As well as raising money for charity I am also keen to talk in schools, and if one child can walk out of this school after today and think 'I'm going to try and do this' no matter what it is then I know I will have achieved something.'

Have you got a Costessey story? Contact John Owens on 01603 772439.

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