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New chapter for Norwich primary as it becomes an academy and launches trust

Pupils and staff at Bignold Primary School. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Pupils and staff at Bignold Primary School. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A primary school in the heart of Norwich has started a new chapter as an academy with its own trust.

Bignold Primary School, on Wessex Street, was given the go-ahead to form Diversa last month, officially converting to academy status just days ago.

The school - which is rated good, with outstanding features, by Ofsted - announced plans to launch the trust last September, in a bid to share its values around inclusion and diversity with other schools.

Angel Road Infant and Junior Schools, to the north of Norwich, are due to join the trust in April, but Clare Jones, headteacher at Bignold and chief executive of Diversa, said there were no major expansion plans on the horizon.

She said: “What we wanted to do was take control of our own destiny and spread the ethos of Bignold on inclusion and diversity with other schools in Norwich, particularly as results showed improved outcomes for all children, but especially disadvantaged children.”

During their Ofsted visit last April, inspectors praised the focus placed on “equality of opportunity and diversity”.

An above national average number of pupils at the school speak English as an additional language, and a higher than average number of pupils are supported by the pupil premium, additional funding to raise attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

In total, as of May this year, there were 461 pupils on roll.

Mrs Jones said parents would not see any difference to the school day, uniform or learning, and that the only goal was to improve education and the school experience for pupils.

Though many multi-academy trusts grow rapidly, she said there were no plans for major expansion.

“Initially it will be the three schools,” she said. “But long term I hope other people and schools would like to join our trust to share in our ethos and what we believe in.”

In consultation documents on Angel Road joining the trust, it says that Diversa’s growth plan would see five or six schools join over the next few years, but that it was difficult to offer a definitive number.

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