Etiquette lessons and Saville Row uniforms for Costessey academy students

Steve DownesThe first new students at the academy at Costessey will be given My Fair Lady-style etiquette lessons.Year sevens who start at Ormiston Victory Academy in September will be taught 'confidence in all social situations' and 'excellent manners'.Steve Downes

The first new students at the academy at Costessey will be given My Fair Lady-style etiquette lessons.

Year sevens who start at Ormiston Victory Academy in September will be taught 'confidence in all social situations' and 'excellent manners'.

And every student at the Middleton Crescent academy, which is on the brink of being given the go-ahead to open in the buildings of Costessey High, will be kitted out free of charge in a uniform designed by a Savile Row tailor.

The news was revealed in a bold speech by principal-designate Rachel de Souza, who promised that within a few years every student would get the target of five A*-C GCSEs including English and maths.

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Mrs de Souza told parents and guests at an open evening on Monday: 'I want this to be the best school in Norfolk, Britain, in fact the world. Why shouldn't we aim for the top?'

The academy is sponsored by Ormiston Trust, alongside strategic partners the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N) Foundation Trust and Norfolk County Council.

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Mrs de Souza revealed a host of measures designed to help her achieve the GCSE target, which she managed in her previous role as principal of Barnfield West Academy at Luton, where the percentage of pupils getting the five good GCSEs including English and maths improved from 16pc to 100pc.

The measures include:

the appointment of 20 new members of staff, to end the 'reliance on supply staff'

'exciting' new GCSE options, including astronomy and psychology

no 'trainers, jewellery or extreme haircuts'

poor behaviour being 'swiftly nipped in the bud'

all students staying on site for lunch

an optional cooked breakfast, with 'reading of the morning newspapers every day'

four colleges, with house competitions in sports.

Mrs de Souza said the academy would develop 'groundbreaking curriculum links' with the N&N Trust, with gifted and talented students studying at lectures alongside medical students and A-level students using the hospital's laboratories.

She said: 'Our vision is that the Ormiston Victory Academy will establish Ormiston Trust as the number one sponsor in the UK and that the academy will be the flagship academy and school in the Eastern region.'

She said there would be a 'huge emphasis' in the first year of the academy on ensuring all students gained a high standard in English and maths, with after-school classes and regular revision programmes set up.

'We really need to aim high and ensure that at Ormiston Victory Academy there will be no child left behind and that every student can achieve success.'

Mrs de Souza added: 'The new uniform will present our new image to the world of hardworking young people who are fabulous ambassadors for the academy.

'We have developed a new behaviour code. Year seven students will have etiquette lessons, learning confidence in all social situations. They will learn many skills, including how to talk to guests with confidence and how to apply excellent manners and put people at their ease.

'Poor behaviour will be swiftly nipped in the bud with a very clear consequences regime. Excellent behaviour that is thoughtful of others will be rewarded and celebrated.'

Mrs de Souza said there would be 'extensive building works and installation of new computers and technology' during the summer, while staff were being trained in 'the latest teaching techniques' and how to 'teach the trailblazing new curriculum'.

What do you think of the plans? Call Steve Downes on 01603 772495 or email

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