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Ofsted praise for City Academy Norwich in Earlham

PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 October 2011 | UPDATED: 09:01 11 October 2011

City Academy principle David Brunton outside the new school building.
Photo by Simon Finlay

City Academy principle David Brunton outside the new school building. Photo by Simon Finlay

Archant © 2011 01603 772434

A school which was once named as one of the worst in the country has been praised by government inspectors.

Three years of hard work and dedication has paid off for staff and students at City Academy Norwich after it received a ‘good with outstanding features’ report from Ofsted.

Inspectors recognised that the former Earlham High School has made huge improvements in the two years since it became an academy.

The news comes just days before parents of prospective pupils get a sneak peek at the school’s new £21m building.

Principal David Brunton, who took over the reigns three years ago when the school was on special measures, said: “We are delighted with the progress we have made to date.

“An element of that inspection is how rapid the improvements have been made along with the recognition that the quality of teaching is good.

“There’s great pride in the achievements of staff and students and we’ve got far more support from our parents and teachers.

“When the academy started we had a simple vision - we wanted to be recognised as an outstanding school by 2014. This was a key milestone for us and we now need to work towards turning those goods into outstandings.”

In its former life as Earlham High School, the Earlham Road school was named and shamed as the fourth worst of 3,600 secondary schools in the country four years ago.

At the time, just six per cent of its pupils left with the minimum requirement of five good GCSEs including English and maths

This summer saw 40pc of City Academy Norwich’s students achieve five A* to C results in maths and English.

The improvements have been put down to improving the culture and ethos within the school, driving up teaching standards and engaging the community.

Mr Brunton, former head at Wymondham High School, said: “The fresh start was really crucial. The local community had lost faith in the school and our intake was just 80, we now have 170.

“One of the areas where we were deemed outstanding was the work we do with the local community and our feeder schools. Winning back the support of our local community was really important to us and we put a lot of effort into.”

The doors of the school’s new state-of-the-art building on the corner of Bluebell Road and Earlham Road will open in May next year.

The building will feature some of the finest digital technology available nationally, a media suite, drama studio and a fitness suite. There will also be a wing dedicated to community access.

There are currently just under 700 pupils at the school. The new academy is designed for 1,100. It is hoped there will be an intake of 180 students for the first time in September.

Ahead of the opening, parents of prospective students will get the chance to take a look at the site this Saturday.

The open day will be held this Saturday from 10am to 12pm. People will not be able to go inside but it will be the first opportunity they will have to see the new building without the fencing.

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