Principal’s farewell to under-performing Downham Market school

Principal of Downham Market Academy Jon Ford. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Principal of Downham Market Academy Jon Ford. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

The principal at Downham Market Academy, Jon Ford is stepping down with immediate effect, following news that results at the school had not improved.

Phil Hearne has been appointed as interim principal for the rest of this academic year.

The school is part of the College of West Anglia Academy Trust, whose chief executive David Pomfret said: 'The trust is fully committed to supporting Downham Market Academy, its students and staff to become a great school and we cannot afford to lose momentum in our drive for improvement.

'Phil Hearne is a very experienced educational leader with an impressive track record of transforming under-performing schools and delivering significant improvements in exam results. I am confident ... he will have an immediate impact on performance across the academy.'

Mr Ford decided to step down after a recent visit to the academy by a representative from the Department for Education and the Regional Schools Commissioner.

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Mr Pomfret added: 'In spite of the undoubted commitment, passion and hard work of Jon and his team, results at the academy did not improve during 2015 and 2016, and the need for rapid improvement was further underlined in feedback following the visit.

'I would like to thank Jon for his great contribution to the development of the academy over the past five years. 'During his leadership, the school was the most improved in East Anglia in 2012 and he oversaw the move to academy status in 2013, successfully introducing a formal uniform, house systems, vertical tutoring and a student leadership programme.'

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In his final newsletter, Mr Ford thanked the governors, staff and colleagues, and added: 'I will miss the staff and the students and look forward to reading of your success in the years to come.'

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