Norwich school principal mentioned in prime minister David Cameron’s speech

The principal of a Norwich school received a surprise mention in a speech from prime minister David Cameron at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester this afternoon.

Tania Sidney-Roberts, principal of Free School Norwich, was cited in the prime minister's much-anticipated speech as an example of the 'can-do' attitude that he wants the country to rediscover.

Mr Cameron came to the Surrey Street school shortly after its opening in early September, to deliver a speech which unveiled a raft of changes to restore discipline and high standards in education.

The visit clearly made an impression on Mr Cameron as this afternoon he said: 'Some say that to succeed in this world, we need to become more like India, or China, or Brazil.

'I say: we need to become more like us. The real us. Hard-working, pioneering, independent, creative, adaptable, optimistic, can-do.

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'That's the spirit that has made this United Kingdom what it is: a small country that does great things; one of the most incredible success stories in the history of the world.

'And it's a spirit that's alive and well today. I see it in Tania Sidney-Roberts, the head teacher I met in Norwich who started a free school from scratch, now four times over-subscribed. Her ambition? To set up another school and do it all over again. That's leadership.'

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Norwich Free School is one of 24 that opened last month – state-funded schools, set up by parents, teachers, faith groups, charities and other organisations outside of local authority control.

The school currently caters for 96 pupils aged four to eight and will eventually take pupils up to the age of 11.

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