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High school admission change would hit pupils from primary within walking distance

PUBLISHED: 06:15 12 November 2020

Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey. Picture: Bill Smith

Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey. Picture: Bill Smith

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Children at a Norwich primary could be denied places at a secondary school just 10 minutes walk away if changes in admission rules are approved.

Naomi Palmer, principal at Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey, which is seeking to change its admission policy. Picture: Nick ButcherNaomi Palmer, principal at Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey, which is seeking to change its admission policy. Picture: Nick Butcher

Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey is seeking public views on proposed changes to its admission policy that would remove nearby St Michael’s Juniors from being a named feeder school.

The secondary school, which has 1,195 pupils and is run by the Ormiston Academies Trust, said the amendment to its admission policy was “one suggestion being discussed” in response to “rapid local growth and the subsequent increased demand for school places”.

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A school spokesperson said: “These are only initial proposals, but they aim to give priority to children in the catchment area who attend feeder schools that have no other high school option. We always want to provide families with the fairest possible choice for their children, and ensure we are serving the community in the most equitable way.”

St Michael's Junior School in Bowthorpe could be removed as a feeder school for Ormiston Victory Academy despite being 10 minutes walk away. Picture: Denise BradleySt Michael's Junior School in Bowthorpe could be removed as a feeder school for Ormiston Victory Academy despite being 10 minutes walk away. Picture: Denise Bradley

Under the proposals Bawburgh Primary, Costessey Junior, St Augustine’s Primary, Queens Hill Primary School and Easton St Peter’s Primary would be named feeder schools.

Removed from the list would be St Michael’s Junior School in Bowthorpe, despite being just a short walk away.

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St Michael’s is also a feeder school for the City of Norwich School and City Academy Norwich, both of which are oversubscribed, Hewett Academy, which would leave parents and children taking a car or public transport journey.

Judith Pearson, who has a daughter in Year 3 at St Michael’s Juniors, as well as another daughter in Year 1 at Chapel Break Infant School, said: “We and other families have chosen to live in Bowthorpe because of access to local schools that does not require a car.

“Bowthorpe is within walking distance of Ormiston Victory Academy, and it seems unfair to change the admissions policy to effectively prevent our children from accessing the closest high school.

“Four of the five feeder schools remaining on the proposed document would still require a car or bus to get there. How can the school justify favouring those schools over the school where children can walk there?”

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The school is also proposing changes to its oversubscription criteria that would see children of staff members added to the list of those with a priority for places.

The spokesman added: “No decisions have been made, and we are running a consultation as we are keen to hear the views of all interested parties. We have already received widespread feedback, and would encourage further responses.”

Responses to the consultation can be submitted to pa@ormistonvictoryacademy.co.uk or to the school by post before it closes on November 12.


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