DCSIMG

Duke opens Academy as it forges ahead with improvements

The Duke of Gloucester is shown a science experiment by Year 7 students at Thetford Academy when he officially opened the school.
Picture by David Goulding ANL-140521-123254001

The Duke of Gloucester is shown a science experiment by Year 7 students at Thetford Academy when he officially opened the school. Picture by David Goulding ANL-140521-123254001

Thetford Academy which welcomed the Duke of Gloucester to officially open its £19million school building this week is successfully rebuilding its status.

Executive principal Adrian Ball said that regular monitoring by Ofsted after the school was placed in special measures in February 2013 was reporting continuing improvements.

Fewer pupils are being excluded and more are applying for university places.

This year 70 per cent of pupils in Year 13 are applying to university compared to 15 per cent previously and at its March inspection Ofsted said that the numbers of Year 11 students expected to achieve five GCSEs or more was the highest since the Academy opened and closer to the national average. This year the school had made 50 fixed term exclusions compared to 555 last year.

Mr Ball said this was down to steps the school had introduced to encourage youngsters to come to school. “Students want to be in school and the vast majority of students have been waiting to be taught.

Attendance now stood at 94.3 per cent compared to 90.8 per cent and below in previous years.

“We want to ensure students leave here with the grades, confidence and skills to make their own decisions about their lives. “It’s all about the encouragement and support they get in lessons to make them aware of life outside and what they can achieve in the world. There are a lot of expectations. There is a dress code for the sixth form, a greater monitoring of the quality of teaching in the sixth form with lessons of high quality to give those leaving the skills to access university.

“We need to make sure there are no limits and high expectations. I don’t want to hear ‘that’ll do’”

During the Duke’s visit he met members of the student council and toured the maths, science and technology departments. He spoke to Aliaksandra Baranskaya who in Year 12 is applying to Cambridge to read medicine and spoke to those in Year 13 who have placed being held for them by the Russell group of universities. Some 30 per cent of the 1200 pupils have English as a second language with 25 different languages spoken by students.

The school in Croxton Road became an academy following the merger of the former Rosemary Musker and Charles Burrell Schools.

Mr Ball took over as executive principal in September last year.

 

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