Thetford Academy principal defends timetable changes after fears raised by parent

Adrian Ball has been appointed as executive principal at Thetford Academy

Adrian Ball has been appointed as executive principal at Thetford Academy - Credit: Archant

The principal of Thetford Academy has insisted pupils' safety has been its first priority after fears were raised over changes to its timetable.

The school wrote to parents this week to announce that its day will be finishing at 3.45pm three days a week, with a 2.45pm finish on Wednesday and Friday.

The announcement raised concerns from some parents that their children will have to walk home in the dark.

Sheena Nelson, whose son attends the school, said his walk across town to Ash Close from Croxton Road meant he would be walking in darkness in the winter months.

'I'm really worried about him having to walk in the dark as it's not safe.

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'There's been no communication with the parents on this and I think parents would have appreciated being asked what they thought of it because a lot of us aren't happy,' she said.

But Adrian Ball, executive principal, said the school had been 'extremely thorough' when it came to changing the timetable.

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'The safety of students is our first priority and this decision was made with that in mind,' he said.

'While we acknowledge they could have up to a 45-minute walk home, we are satisfied that the amount of time spent walking in darkness will be minimal.

'We've even gone as far as checking sunrise and sunset times so we know that, at worst, students will be walking in twilight.'

Mr Ball said the benefits of the changes will outweigh any potential negatives.

'Changing to hour-long teaching sessions was only possible with a longer day.

'But it will allow our teachers more time to be creative and to explore the central ideas of the lesson.

'We've done so much work on improving teaching here since Ofsted visited and now we are giving them the time to deliver,' he said.

What do you think of the change in timetable? Let us know by emailing reporter Andrew Fitchett on

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