Children rush to join Norwich academy

Steve DownesThe remarkable rebirth of a struggling Norwich school continued today as it was revealed that pupil numbers in year seven could more than double from September.Steve Downes

The remarkable rebirth of a struggling Norwich school continued today as it was revealed that pupil numbers in year seven could more than double from September.

Last year, the new intake of pupils was just 88 as Earlham High School began life as City Academy Norwich - down from 142 in 2008-9 and well short of a maximum of 180 in the year.

Now it has been revealed that 155 pupils have it as their first choice when they begin high school in September, and the academy's leaders are confident the 180 figure will be reached once places across the city have been allocated in March.

The good news continued as the academy revealed:

The number of pupils excluded fell from 85 in the first term of 2008-9 to one in the first term of the academy

The number of youngsters removed from lessons for bad behaviour fell by 60pc in the same period

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Mock exam results, handed to the students on Wednesday, show a predicted performance in June of 30pc getting five A*-C GCSEs including English and maths - compared to 19pc last year and 6pc in 2008, and higher than the government's 22pc target.

The figures are the latest boost to the academy, coming exactly two years after its predecessor Earlham High was among the lowest performing schools in England for GCSE results and truancy.

Principal David Brunton, who took over as headteacher at Earlham High on Earlham Road in April 2008 before being kept on to lead Norwich's second academy when it changed in September last year, said: 'We are really delighted with the progress being made at City Academy Norwich in only our first term. Students are working really hard and have a fantastic attitude to their learning - the transformation into an academy has made a real difference.'

He added: 'The response from the local community to the improvements at the school has been a real tribute to the hard work of students and teachers, with a massive increase in the number of applications to come to the academy in September.

'Those students will be joining a school that is improving all the time and has an aspiration for every single student to achieve their full potential.'

City Academy Norwich is sponsored by Norwich City College, alongside partners the University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich School and Norfolk County Council.

It is not known whether the expected surge in pupil numbers will be at the expense of any neighbouring schools.

But it is understood that many of the applications are from parents within its catchment area. In recent years, a significant proportion have opted to send their children further afield, including to City of Norwich School on Eaton Road and The Hewett in Cecil Road.

Official admissions figures for Norfolk high schools will not be released until March 1.

Open Academy on Marryat Road, Norwich, which was Norfolk's first academy when it succeeded Heartsease High in September 2008, would not reveal the number of pupils naming it as their first choice for September.

But vice-principal Cameron Phillips said the early indications showed a 'significant increase' in the number of parents wanting their children to attend the academy, which moves into a new �20m amphitheatre-style wooden building in September.

He said: 'We are very pleased as it shows the growing confidence in the academy after our proven success in the first year of opening.

'Furthermore, the appointment of one of Norfolk's outstanding headteachers, Jon Platten, and the opening of our stunning new building will further increase the desirability of the Open Academy to parents looking for the right school for their children in future years.'

Do you have a story about school admissions? Contact Steve Downes on 01603 772495 or email