Watton Junior School’s academy conversion confirmed, could create the UK’s first education group taking children from primary to degree level

Dick Palmer, chief executive of the Ten Group. Picture: Denise Bradley

Dick Palmer, chief executive of the Ten Group. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

A Norfolk academy school group believes it will be the first organisation in the country that can take children from primary to degree level within the same organisation.

The Department for Education this afternoon gave Watton Junior School permission to convert to a sponsored academy within the Transforming Education in Norfolk (Ten) Group, which also includes the Wayland Academy, in Watton, and City College Norwich.

The college has more than 1,500 students studying for degrees through its partnership with the University of East Anglia.

Dick Palmer, chief executive of the Ten Group, said: 'First and foremost, we are very pleased to be able to help the young people of Watton. That's the core of it.

'The junior school's recent past has been a little bit troubled, so we are very pleased that we can now help the community there and help a school that's really at the heart of the town, and that's something that we are confident that we can really help with and get it back on its feet.'

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Watton Junior School, which has about 200 students, was graded 'satisfactory' when last visited by Ofsted in March 2012.

Mr Palmer said: 'For us, it is great news because it does give us that progression right through from Watton Junior through to Wayland Academy and to the college. We can literally go from Key Stage Two to degree level and that's a really exciting prospect for us.

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'We think we may be the only formal education institution in the UK that has that.

'There are some that link up schools and colleges, but as far as we are aware we will be the first structured legal federation that goes from Key Stage Two to degree level.'

He said he expected the school to formally become an academy in April 2014.

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