Academy pupils take a stand over campus division plans

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AROUND 40 pupils protested outside a school over controversial plans.

The class walkout on Tuesday came during a week of knocks for education in Thetford.

The protest took place from around 8.45am on Tuesday morning as pupils objected to plans to separate age groups between the two Thetford Academy sites.

The school plans to teach Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils at its North Campus site, with years 10 to 12 to be based at the South Campus.

Parents are worried about transport costs that may arise from the move and have also voiced concern about disruption to their children’s learning.

Tracey Fry, mother of Georgia, a Year 10 pupil at the school, said the school had ‘ignored’ their concerns.

“I live over this side of town and one of the reasons I bought that house is so we’d be close to the school.

“My daughter is already having to walk across town to go to the other campus once a week and I worry about her walking on her own,” he said.

Georgia, 14, who joined in the protests, said the longer journey would mean they would be late for lessons and that it would interfere with their studies.

Christine Carey, Thetford Academy headteacher, said she understood concerns about the changes but that it was a ‘natural reaction to change’.

“Nobody likes change but I don’t want people to be afraid of it.

“I want them to engage with us and we will make sure it’s of benefit to them.

“There’s a consultation period going on at the moment but there haven’t been any compelling educational reasons why we shouldn’t do it,” she said.

Mrs Carey said the changes would enable the school to focus learning for GCSE students at the South Campus learning village.

“We want to make a more mature learning environment, more like a college,” she said.

She added that transport would be provided for pupils between the sites.

As well as the protests, Queensway Community Junior School has been placed on special measures following an Ofsted report.

And results released on Wednesday rank the former Charles Burrell Humanities School as the fifth worst in the country in terms of pupils achieving five A* to C grades.

For all the secondary school league table results, turn to Page 11.