Pupils to be separated by age

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ANGRY parents have opposed what they see as a school’s ‘ludicrous’ plans to place age groups at separate sites.

But the headteacher of Thetford Academy insists the school should be trusted in its proposals to teach Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils at the Academy’s North Campus, leaving Years 10 to 12 at the South Campus.

At a consultation meeting at the South Campus on December 8, head Christine Carey spoke to parents about the proposals that are planned to be introduced next June.

But parents who attended say that although questions were answered, there was little consultation.

They also say Mrs Carey informed them the plans would be going ahead – unless the logistics of transport could not be met.

Parent Shelley Matthews called the plans ‘disruptive’ and claimed every person at the consultation meeting was against them when asked.

“The only high school in Thetford has taken away our choice.

“Mrs Carey knows this and basically, as a parent, I feel deeply offended that parental voices and the voices of our children and their teachers appear not worth listening to,” she said.

Mrs Matthews added: “In our current economic climate, parents cannot afford the extra fuel expenses to take their children to a school 3.2 miles away from home, when there is a school they can and have been walking to for many years.”

Mrs Carey said the plans showed the academy sites were ‘two halves of one whole’ and would give pupils more learning opportunities.

“Principally, this is an academy and we are wanting students to be mixed up and integrated into a full learning experience.

“For students at different stages, this will help to drive standards up.

“People are fearful of change but it is my job to ensure that we as a staff are to be trusted by parents,” she said.

The school is looking into transport arrangements so that children can be taken from one site to another.

Mrs Carey said: “Transport can be arranged but the fact that this town does not have regular transport makes it more difficult to manage.”

She added that they will be looking at the feasibility of the proposals in the New Year.

A number of parents have arranged meetings with Mrs Carey to discuss the proposals.