Headteacher who founded City Academy Norwich will retire in December

Principal David Brunton, who has announced that he will retire in December. Photo: Bill Smith

Principal David Brunton, who has announced that he will retire in December. Photo: Bill Smith

The principal who oversaw the creation of one of Norfolk's first academies will retire after six years at the helm.

Principal David Brunton, who has announced that he will retire in December. Photo: Bill Smith

Principal David Brunton, who has announced that he will retire in December. Photo: Bill Smith

David Brunton will leave City Academy Norwich – previously Earlham High School – in December, when he turns 60. His 39 years in teaching included headships at Wymondham High School and Great Yarmouth High School.

He joined Earlham in March 2008, when it was in special measures. These were removed before it became an academy in September 2009.

Mr Bruton said the school's intake is in the bottom 1pc of the country academically, and the school deals with seven child-protection issues a week – a figure some schools might experience in one half term.

Results fell last year, with 24pc of pupils gaining the government's gold standard of five GCSEs at A*-C, including English and maths, compared to 40pc in 2012.


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Mr Brunton said the school was now back on track after that 'blip', although it will not announce this summer's results until dozens of exams appeals are completed.

He said 20 children were on the C/D borderline, and 10 more on other borderlines, but the school would nevertheless be in the top 25pc of similar schools in the country.

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The academy has a philosophy of educating all students, and not removing those whose performance could damage its league table position.

He said: 'We have got nine students who will not be adding to our score, but will be actually in education or employment next year through the work we have done with them.

'In many schools, those students would have just been moved on to other provision to get their names off the roll. We don't believe in doing that. They are kids living in our community and we have a duty towards them.'

He added: 'We know if we permanently exclude [children with difficulties] it's a horrible message to give to somebody that the community does not want you, and the chances are they will become Neet [not in education, employment or training] and the consequences of that are they often go to prison.'

Mr Brunton said pupils' attitudes to learning, and parental engagement, had been transformed since the academy was founded, and added: 'I distinctly remember a young student saying 'you have changed our estate. Now when we walk to school in the morning, the estate looks much nicer'.'

He hopes carry on working with the academy's sponsor, the Ten Group, on digital technology in the classroom, and get more involved in the local sports scene during his retirement.

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