Swaffham Hamond’s High School bids for academy status as Ofsted report issued today brands it inadequate

A struggling high school branded inadequate by Ofsted is hoping to start a new life as an academy sponsored by a newly-formed trust.

Swaffham Hamond's High School has been hampered by falling student numbers and staff cuts since a �900,000 deficit was discovered in 2009.

The Ofsted report, released today, credited the 555-pupil school with improvements, but issued a 12-month notice to improve after downgrading its 2009 'satisfactory' rating to 'inadequate'.

The school announced this week it is seeking Government approval to become Norfolk's seventh sponsored academy in September, run by the Academy Transformation Trust (ATT),

The trust is headed by Ian Cleland, currently chief executive of the Ormiston Academies Trust, which runs academies in Costessey and Gorleston.

Headteacher Stuart Bailey said the bid would inject new resources, support and expertise, and wipe out the school's financial difficulties.

He said: 'This will be a completely new start for our school and transform the educational provision in our community.

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'ATT will be introducing and using cutting edge technologies through some of their current businesses and ICT partners.

'The sponsors are also keen to reintroduce specialist sixth form provision, linked to job opportunities in the area.'

Earlier this year Dereham Sixth Form blamed funding cuts for abandoning plans for a campus in the town, and the school's sixth form, the smallest in Norfolk, will close in July.

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss welcomed the academy bid, and is due to meet Hamond's governors and Swaffham Town, district and county councillors tomorrow to discuss sixth form provision in the town.

The Ofsted report said: 'Swaffham Hamond's High School is on the road to recovery after a difficult period, but does not yet provide an acceptable standard of education.

'Progress over the last year amply demonstrates its capacity to sustain further improvement: standards are improving steadily, attendance is rising, everyone acknowledges behaviour is much better and the overall quality of teaching is strengthening.

'Achievement is inadequate because standards are low and are not rising quickly enough.'

The inspectors said progress in maths was broadly satisfactory, but achievement in English was inadequate and literacy standards were low.

They also said too many lessons are disrupted by 'the non-compliance of a small but significant number of disaffected students'.

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