From the editor: If change must happen at City Academy in Norwich, make it happen quickly
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Another school term, another shake-up for one of Norwich's biggest schools.
After seven years being run by The Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN) Group, City Academy is to be taken over by the Bohunt Education Trust. In those years of the institution going from being Earlham High School to an academy, it's probably fair to say the results have been mixed.
Having visited it several times myself there's no denying the look and feel of the academy improved, thanks to a major refurbishment of pretty much the whole of the Bluebell Road site.Meanwhile, results have also got better, from a real low in 2006/7, though the most recent figures highlighted a worrying dip, which may have impacted the decision for it to change hands. Despite this, the academy has been repeatedly handed improvement notices from the government and is officially classed as a coasting school after falling below the expected standards for exam results three years in a row.On the face of it, therefore, perhaps change is a good thing.
I sincerely hope it is and that pretty soon we can start writing some more positive stories about the facility and its achievements. However, I also worry about the impact such changes might have on the children going through their education as it all unfolds. I won't profess to be an expert on what goes on in any of our schools, but there must be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy effect of places, teachers and their pupils being constantly told they are failing? If the deal goes through, I hope it goes through quickly so that the new trust can quickly start to implement its vision and strategy. If it doesn't, and the school loses any sense of direction, that's where I worry the education of the children will be impacted. Over the years there has been lots of talk as to why places like City Academy fail, when schools within a few miles thrive. One theory was that this particular school would be left behind, while others were getting ahead of the game in terms of becoming academies. Perhaps we are still seeing the impact of that.
Biologically there's no real reason why a group of children from one part of the city, should fare worse than that from another and for me that gives hope that City Academy and its pupils can turn its fortunes around.