Norfolk’s latest academy was officially opened to rounds of applause from teachers and parents alike despite scepticism over changes brought in through the school’s new status.

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Great Yarmouth Primary Academy - the only of its kind in the town - welcomed dignitaries and guests into its hall to hear songs from the eldest pupils and speeches from teachers and education chiefs as part of the launch ceremony.

Bosses at the Dickens Avenue school, previously known as Greenacre, had sparked concern from parents over the change to academy status and the introduction of a 45 hour week, that keeps pupils in class until 6pm.

But at the launch today (Friday) headteacher Bill Holledge said students had embraced the extra curricular after school activities - including cookery, horse riding, karate and music - and become ambassadors for the new working day, quelling parents’ concerns.

“As I think we thought at the beginning, the pupils have been the champions. Even on occasions where parents haven’t been confident to start with, very often the pupils have convinced them and said ‘I want to stay for the cooking’. I think it’s been them that have convinced their parents that they want to stay and get involved,” he added.

Before the change to academy in September some parents had threatened to pull their children out, and although some pupils have left, Mr Holledge said this was not down to the school’s new status - and said demand was now high for more places.

He added: “There are some pupils who left at the very start of the year and some pupils we gained. The numbers involved are absolutely standard for the turn of the new academic year.

“We have not seen any change in pupil numbers that we could directly attribute to changes in the academy, and actually now we’re absolutely full.

“And we’re now starting to get people beating a path to our door.”

Among the dignitaries that attended the launch was minister of state for schools Nick Gibb, schools commissioner Elizabeth Sidwell and Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Richard Jewson who were full of praise for the academy, its teachers and millionaire sponsor Theodore Agnew - who was cheered for his “determination” to help the school.

Dr Sidwell, who sat in on lessons with Mr Gibb, also heaped praise on pupils and told them her visit had been an “inspiration”.

“I know the children here are going to be leaders,” she added.

4 comments

  • Rarely read such sycophantic drivel! Whilst it appears that the pupils, of the former Greenacre school, will have enhanced opportunities it is a bit tricky to work out why this could not have been provided prior to the granting of 'academy' status. Perhaps the head, or sponsor, would care to comment on how the new status enable the school to operate in new ways.

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    Normal bloke

    Friday, November 9, 2012

  • Well said dg123, it is great this school can offer so much more to these children it is a shame more schools cannot do the same, if these children were not happy they would not have shown such eagerness in the ceremony,it's wonderful that they have the chance of trying something new after school instead of sitting in front of Tv, it will broaden their horizons and make them better people, it seems to me that people who are so against this school really enjoy having crowds of yobbos on street corners causing nothing but trouble,binge drinking and anti social behaviour! These kids had nothing but this school is trying it's damn hardest to change the next generation and I for one take my hat off to them..well done..!

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    lisa sharp

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • "poor little kids"???? I don't think so! Get over yourseld daisy roots. If you want to know how they deliver activities and check on the standand of them why not go down ther and get involved. This would be a far better use of your time than spouting the hot air type comments you always make on here. It was a great ceremony. The pupils were so proud to greet and look after their guests and the choir sang their hearts out. The 'shift' in the school has been amazing.

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    dg123

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • I agree. Facts and nothing but facts is what we need.How much control has the tax payer lost, how much does the tax payer continue to contribute, how much control do the governors of the new academy have and how little does the donor stump up to buy this influence on our local children's education. Same applies to all academies, but this sponsor is a Tory party benefactor and Brandon Lewis is a lapdog. Find out how many hours the children are still getting of these activities next term, find out the quality of the activities-I am still bamboozled by how they can deliver worthwhile horse riding lessons in such a short time span given the location of the school to a meanful number of children. The poor little kids at Greenacre should have been entitled to a bit of spending without resorting to academy status, same goes for all children in Norfolk schools. If successive governments had given Norfolk CC adequate funding and ensured they spent it on schools one wouldnot feel so cynical about academies which are a wedge in the door for private companies to run state funded schools.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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