Gove praises head during school visit

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MICHAEL Gove has heaped praise on the principal of Thetford Academy for her work in boosting standards.

The Education Secretary visited the academy’s south campus, in Staniforth Way, on Friday to see how it was performing.

A highlight for the minister was speaking to three Canadian maths teachers about the schools system in their country.

Mr Gove, who has championed academies and Free Schools as a route to improving state education, was invited to the academy by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss.

Speaking to the Bury Free Press, he praised principal Cathy Spillane.

He said: “The academy has underlined the importance of finding the right headteacher and allowing her the freedom to have the best possible professionals.

“I spent a fantastic 20 minutes with the Canadian maths teachers and I got from them a sense of enthusiasm and commitment.

“From the assistant principal, there was a sense of clarity and vision of how he could improve the school which reflects the fact that Cathy is clearly taking the school in the right direction.”

On controversial moves in Suffolk to close middle schools, he said: “Suffolk County Council has been brave and right to grasp the nettle and move to two tier. I know there are some communities who fear they may lose a much loved local school but the county council wants to work with communities. All the evidence suggests two tier helps raise standards for all children.”

Mrs Spillane said Mr Gove’s visit was ‘a compliment’.

She added: “Given how difficult the first year of the academy was in Thetford, having him be so complimentary shows we have begun to create a school the town can be proud of.”