School is given academy funds

The village of Hockwold.   The Primary School.
The village of Hockwold. The Primary School.
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A troubled school has been given a boost after the Government agreed to fund a move for it to convert into an academy.

Hockwold and Methwold Community School was put into special measures in January after Ofsted inspectors deemed it to be failing its students, aged four to 19.

The school has since opted to become an academy and that moved a stage closer last week when Lord Hill of Oareford, parliamentary under secretary of state for schools, agreed to release £140,000 for the project development phase.

The academy will be supported by the Academy Transformation Trust, whose recent work includes supporting the Diamond Academy in Thetford.

Joyce Hodgetts, managing director, said the change would allow the school to achieve a rating of ‘outstanding’ within three years.

“The school has been through a bit of a tough time but they have made amazing strides to make improvements.

“We want to raise the aspirations of the pupils so they can aspire to do things that they never thought they could,” she said.

If approved, the school would reopen as an academy under a new name in January, 2013, with the current school formally closing on December 31.

The Government has provided funding to help pay for the legal and administrative costs of the changeover.

Denise Walker, principal, would retain her role in the new set-up, while current staff would also stay on, according to Ms Hodgetts.

She said a new vice principal would be recruited that would have a ‘key role’ in improving the school’s fortunes.

Improvements to the school’s building and resources would also be made, while the sixth form will be developed.

Pupils will also be wearing new uniforms.

The school was seen to be making satisfactory progress in its last monitoring inspection in May.