Show of support for Sewell Park College and the Hewett School in Norwich after damning Ofsted reports

Sewell Park College. Picture: Denise Bradley

Sewell Park College. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Communities have rallied to support two Norwich high schools which came under heavy fire in damning Ofsted reports.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition about the future of the Hewett School. Picture: Denise Bra

Hundreds of people have signed a petition about the future of the Hewett School. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Both the Hewett School and Sewell Park College, formerly Blyth Jex School, have been placed in special measures after standards slipped.

Inspectors criticised the quality of teaching, lack of ambition and problems with behaviour in reports published yesterday.

But both schools replaced their headteachers in September, say they have begun to make improvements and are set to receive plenty of support on the road to recovery.

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, where Sewell Park College is located, said: 'This is a very serious matter and I'm with the teachers, the governors, the families and the students who all want to make Sewell Park College a better school and who will be working incredibly hard to do so.

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'I spoke at one of their recent open evenings to say this, as I think it's important local schools get this kind of support in the community.

'The message here is clear. Low standards are not acceptable for Norfolk children.'

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She said she was confident that the right things were now being done to raise standards, and when asked if there was a possibility of the school becoming an academy she said it was 'too early to say'.

The Hewett School is in the Norwich South constituency of MP Simon Wright.

He described the Ofsted report as 'very disappointing' but said it had been expected, partly due to a £430,000 budget deficit as the school is running with far fewer pupils than it has places.

'I know the county council has been keeping an eye on the school for a while, but the Ofsted report does highlight the size of the challenge ahead,' he said. 'There's a new headteacher [Phil Hearne] who's not been there for very long, but he's a good idea of the direction needed.

'It's really important now that we give him and the school all the support they need to move forward in a positive direction.'

Asked if the school could be pressured into becoming an academy, he said that an interim executive board (IEB) was likely to be set up and it would be a matter for them.

'If an IEB is brought in, they need time to look over all that evidence and must not make any snap judgments,' he said.

Parents at the gates of The Hewett yesterday had mixed views about the school's performance.

A father, speaking anonymously, said his dyslexic daughter had received plenty of support.

'She's happy and the teaching is good,' he said. 'The report is a surprise to me.'

But David Fox, who has a son in year 10 and a daughter in year 11, said standards had slipped.

'I suppose it did go downhill a bit,' he said. 'It seemed a good school when we put the children in there.'

He said he felt that communication between the school and parents was lacking, claimed some teachers did not seem like they were interested in taking lessons but behaviour seemed to be good.

A third parent, speaking anonymously, said he was concerned about the school, and by behaviour including under age smoking.

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