New sponsors hope to change fortunes of Thetford Academy

PUBLISHED: 13:02 08 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:23 09 July 2013

Thetford Academy headteacher Cathy Spillane. Photo by Simon Finlay

Thetford Academy headteacher Cathy Spillane. Photo by Simon Finlay

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A struggling academy has revealed its next step to turn its fortunes around by changing its sponsors.

Thetford Academy, which was put into special measures by Ofsted in March, will be sponsored by the Inspiration Trust who will take over from sponsors Easton and Otley College.

David Lawrence, principal of Easton and Otley College, said: “After much consideration, the initial sponsors concluded that our original sponsorship arrangement was not capable of providing the particular and level of support, colleagues and students required, and that it was in the best interests of the students and academy to find an alternative arrangement.”

The Inspiration Trust, led by Rachel de Souza, has already turned around Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey and will take over Cromer Academy in September.

Yesterday’s announcement, which was revealed in a briefing to staff on Friday afternoon, marks another chapter in the school’s short but difficult history.

The academy was formed by merging Rosemary Musker with Charles Burrell High School in 2010, but has struggled with pupils split over two sites.

Pupils at its northern campus on Croxton Road are studying while work to build the £19m school goes on around them.

The school’s headteacher and administration are based in temporary offices while diggers driving around the school have become a common sight for pupils.

Headteacher Cathy Spillane said: “It is the start of a new era for Thetford students. More resources, more opportunities and expert support for our children.

“We will be working closely with Mrs de Souza and her team on raising achievement and improving standards; everything needed to make us an outstanding school.”

The new building, which opens in September, will include a sports hall, drama studio, atrium, library, as well as studios for design and technology, science and music.

Mrs de Souza, the CEO of Inspiration Trust, said: “Our goal is simple – to give Thetford children the best education possible.

“I want to see the academy students winning places at the best universities and getting the best jobs.”

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss welcomed the move. She said: “Inspiration has a proven track record of outstanding achievements in transforming education in Norfolk.”

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