Potential changes to Thetford Academy cause upset
Parents and pupils have spoken out against the reorganisation of a Norfolk academy which they say will cause disruption and add to journey times.
The Thetford Academy held a meeting last week at which school officials broached the idea of separating year groups across its two sites. Years seven, eight and nine would be taught solely on the north site in Croxton Road, formerly Rosemary Musker High, while years 10, 11 and 12 would be permanently on the south site in Staniforth Road, formerly Charles Burrell High.
The idea would be to create two learning villages, with teachers moving between the two when needed. The south campus would have a more adult environment and aim to ease the transition between school and college or university.
This caused some upset amongst students and parents however who felt the move would affect those in their GCSE years, and cause problems travelling to and from school.
Rachel Lynch, 15, a Thetford Academy pupil, said she was in top sets and worried about her exam results and added: 'I'm predicted good grades and I'm worried it will bring them down. We have just got used to it and they are changing it again. I have had some of my teachers since year seven.'
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Her mother, Karen Lynch, 47, of Caraway Road, Thetford, added: 'The atmosphere at the meeting was terrible. Nobody wants this to happen. I chose Rosemary Musker because that's where I wanted her to go and now we've got no say in it.'
Sarah Ryder, 14, also a Thetford Academy pupil, added: 'To technically force people into going to a site is bitterly unfair as they will have no say, as automatically in year 10 you will be moved.
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'This will be upsetting as you will get used to the school you are at and then all of a sudden have to move and go to a new surrounding at a critical time. I chose to go the north site when it was Rosemary Musker for a reason. The reason was that I live closer to that site than I do the other one meaning transport is a lot easier.'
Thetford Academy opened in September this year on the Rosemary Musker and Charles Burrell sites, with plans to extend to a forum site in the town centre by 2013 if funds are given the go-ahead by the government.
Principal Christine Carey said the late decision by the government to open the academy meant there had been no time to implement many changes before it opened.
'If we're apart, as we are at the moment, we're still two schools working in the way we were before. We would rather have the students in one place and if anybody moves it's the teachers,' she said.
'I can understand year 10s and 11s would have some concerns but would we, as professionals, really let standards drop? How can we?
'Something has got to happen to make it into an academy and if we don't win the hearts and minds of the parents that will be a tragedy.'
Ms Carey said she had been working with Norfolk County Council to ensure students would be able to take a free bus from their 'home campus' to the site they would be taught on.
The school is expected to introduce the changes in June, when it's new school year will begin.