Academy plan for Downham Market High School

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DOWNHAM Market High School is to become an Academy after the College of West Anglia agreed to sponsor them.

The governors of the school have decided that the next step in continuing its rapid progress is to join forces with a successful sponsor and move towards becoming an Academy.

Chair of governors Alison Chapman said: “We are delighted to announce that we have taken the initial steps to Academy status with the College Of West Anglia as our sponsoring body. The benefits to the school from working with a local partner with expertise in supporting school improvement, and the opportunity to ensure a co-ordinated and rich range of opportunities post 16, are clear.”

The College of West Anglia is an established successful sponsor, supporting the former Park High School in King’s Lynn to become the King’s Lynn Academy (KLA), which has achieved huge improvement since becoming an Academy in September 2010. KLA’s GCSE results last year were the best in West Norfolk and are set to improve further this year.

Mrs Chapman added: “Downham Market High School has already become a very different place over the last academic year and this decision will further this new beginning as it continues to look at its systems, approaches and methods.

“The rapid improvement work that has been undertaken at the school by the hard working and dedicated team will continue under the leadership of headteacher Jon Ford, who has already ensured that the groundwork of improvement is in place. The school now has a strong sense of direction focused on learning and clearly-agreed principles of mutual respect.”

Jon Ford said: ‘While there are still challenges ahead, I feel confident that the boost of the move to Academy status with an expert but local partner will ensure that the excellent progress being made this year will push us on even faster to ensuring we become an outstanding school for our outstanding pupils.”

College of West Anglia principal David Pomfret was equally pleased and added: “Ultimately, this is about improving prospects and making a wider difference to the life chances of young people in Downham Market and the surrounding areas. I believe that, as sponsors, we can make a major contribution to this by raising aspirations and performance through a clear vision, ethos, values and leadership.”

The governing body of Downham Market High School will now make a formal request to the secretary of state for education to issue an Academy order for the school to convert to an Academy at the earliest possible opportunity, with the College of West Anglia as sponsor.