New headteacher of Acle Academy resigns just weeks after taking on job

Gerard Batty, executive headteacher of Hellesdon High School, and now former executive head of Acle

Gerard Batty, executive headteacher of Hellesdon High School, and now former executive head of Acle Academy. - Credit: Archant

An academy struggling to get out of special measures is facing further uncertainty after its new executive headteacher resigned because of concerns about funding.

Acle Academy. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Acle Academy. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Gerard Batty took over at Acle Academy in January, just before an Ofsted report rated it 'inadequate', and weeks after the government approved plans for it to be sponsored by the Wensum Trust. The trust is based at Hellesdon High, which Mr Batty also leads.

However, on Monday the trust's board asked him to resign as executive head of Acle.

He said: 'The reason was we feel at the moment it's difficult for us to do anything with the school until everything has been resolved as to whether Acle is joining the trust. The trustees also felt it was putting me at a very high risk professionally, and the fledgling trust that is just starting, unless we felt that there's a very good chance we can do something.

'We have been asked by the Department for Education (DfE) to sponsor Acle. We have gone back to the DfE saying we need further resources so we can bring the school back to a stage where we can do our best work.'

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He said the concerns focused on infrastructure at the school, with an estimated £500,000 needed for work on the roof, and 'significant problems' with ICT.

Asked if Wensum was still likely to sponsor the school, he said: 'Are we definitely going to take it on? No, we are not. Are the chances very high that we will take it on? Yes, they are, but it's not definite.'

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The school is being led by acting head of school Maxine Blocksidge.

A Department for Education spokesman said: 'Where a sponsor is considering taking on an academy, each case is considered individually. The department is currently looking into the issues raised by the Wensum Trust.'

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