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New principal and £30k playground key to turnaround at inadequate primary academy

PUBLISHED: 15:27 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:09 22 July 2019

Former mayor Mary Coleman and principal Peter Bloomfield at the opening of the new £30,000 Great Yarmouth Primary academy playground. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Former mayor Mary Coleman and principal Peter Bloomfield at the opening of the new £30,000 Great Yarmouth Primary academy playground. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A new principal and a £30k playground have been key to the turnaround at an inadequate Norfolk primary academy according to Ofsted inspectors.

Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust. Picture: Andi Sapey/Inspiration TrustDame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust. Picture: Andi Sapey/Inspiration Trust

Great Yarmouth Primary Academy was plunged into special measures in February when a damning Ofsted report raised concerns over pupils' poor behaviour and the training of teachers.

But, following a recent visit by the education watchdog, the school run by Inspiration Trust, has been praised for the changes it has made.

Since the inspection in November, Great Yarmouth Primary Academy has appointed Peter Bloomfield as its principal and opened a £30,000 playground equipped with a trike track, climbing net and sand pit.

These two changes have been fundamental to the school's turnaround according to the inspectors who carried out the latest check.

Children enjoying themselves at the opening of the new £30,000 Great Yarmouth Primary Academy playground. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodChildren enjoying themselves at the opening of the new £30,000 Great Yarmouth Primary Academy playground. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

In a report published after a monitoring visit carried out on June 4 and 5, staff at the school in Dickens Avenue were said to have been galvanised by the alterations Mr Bloomfield had made.

These changes included the strong focus he had placed on developing positive relationships between leaders and staff.

During the inspection last year, inspectors said school leaders had not demonstrated their capacity to improve the school and had failed to ensure teaching was effective.

Following that visit, chief executive of Inspiration Trust, Dame Rachel de Souza, accused inspectors of having a "negative agenda".

Children enjoying themselves at the opening of the new £30,000 Great Yarmouth Primary Academy playground. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodChildren enjoying themselves at the opening of the new £30,000 Great Yarmouth Primary Academy playground. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

After the latest monitoring inspection she said: "We have always had faith in the school and maintained that the 'special measures' judgement was not accurate.

"We are delighted that their report letter recognises the positive impact of the school.

"We are committed to supporting the school and principal as standards continue to improve."

The new report also praised the children's behaviour.

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Inspectors said no lessons they observed were disrupted through poor behaviour and lunchtimes were sociable and enjoyable occasions.

The new playground has helped to support children's physical development as well as their early reading, writing and number skills.

Concerns were raised over the repeated errors children had made in their work due to the lack of guidance and support from teachers.

Inspectors do however believe the school is taking effective action towards the removal of special measures.

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