Questions over City Academy Norwich’s future as it is set to be named a “coasting school”

City Academy in Norwich. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

City Academy in Norwich. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A high-profile, multi-million pound academy could be taken over by a new organisation after it was set to be branded a 'coasting school'.

City Academy Norwich's provisional GCSE results from this summer, if confirmed, will see it fall into the new category, which could trigger outside intervention.

The government announced the new class of schools last year, which is based on exam results over three consecutive years, starting in 2014.

City Academy's likely fate emerged after the government revealed the coasting criteria it would apply to 2016 results – a score below -0.25 on its new Progress 8 measure, which aims to show how much progress pupils made since leaving primary school.

The government said the school's provisional score of -0.52 was 'well below average', and put it among the very worst in Norfolk. It had already met the coasting criteria for 2014 and 2015.

The school, which is sponsored by the Transforming Education in Norfolk (Ten) Group, which also includes City College Norwich, previously received a government pre-warning notice about standards in 2013, and official warning notices in 2014 and 2015.

The school's fate will be decided by Tim Coulson, the regional schools commissioner, who oversees academies in East of England and North-East London.

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His powers include stripping the Ten Group of the City Academy, and handing it to a new sponsor,

Dr Coulson could not be reached for comment, but speaking to this paper last month, before it emerged the school was likely be 'coasting', he said: 'For us, talking through their results will be really important. We have set up discussions and will be talking to them, and will have to ask and answer that question.'

He hinted that a decision may come this month.

A spokesman for City Academy Norwich said: 'Single performance measures, and classifications such as the term 'coasting', do not reflect the complex reality of our school and the huge amount of work we do to meet students' needs, raise aspirations and support progression to further education and employment.

'We work with a wide range of partners, such as the Mancroft Advice Project and Action Community Enterprise, to put in place the best support and the right learning opportunities, including vocational pathways, to enable our students to succeed.

'Far from a coasting mentality, we challenge and support every student to strive to be the best they can be, fostering a positive, 'can do' attitude.

'Changes introduced over the last year led to our GCSE results improving this summer, and we expect this trend to continue thanks to improvements in the quality of teaching and learning and the development of the English Baccalaureate pathway within our curriculum.'

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