Emneth school completes academy move, despite trust sponsor withdrawal

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A village school has completed its transition to academy status, days after the sponsor of the trust it has joined announced it was pulling out of the group.

Emneth Primary School has become Emneth Academy after it became the sixth primary school to join the CWA Academy Trust.

The process was formally completed on Saturday, just two days after the trust’s sponsor, the College of West Anglia, announced it was withdrawing from the organisation amid divisions over its future direction.

But the school’s principal, Alison Townsend, says the link is already paying dividends.

She said: “We have been working with the trust informally for several months and can already see the benefits for the children and staff.

“We are delighted to become part of this family of schools and very much look forward to building on the strengths of our school as we move forward.”

The move will also see pupils wearing a new uniform featuring an apple which depicts the variety of the fruit which shares its name with the village.

The school is the second in the Wisbech area to join the trust, following the Upwell Academy, which completed its transition last month.

Officials have insisted the college’s decision to cease sponsoring the trust’s schools will not affect day to day operations and expect new directors to be appointed and vetted by the end of the current academic year. A new sponsor will also be sought.

The trust has also denied any link between the college’s withdrawal and a recent critical Ofsted report, which deemed the college to require improvement.

Principal David Pomfret said: “The trust is planning to take on additional primary schools in the near future and to expand beyond West Norfolk.

“We feel, therefore, that now is an appropriate time for CWA to withdraw and allow the trust to develop further in this direction.

“We will continue to work closely together, particularly in supporting transition from school at 16.”

He added: “We founded the trust with the main purpose of supporting the development of education and the life chances of the young people of West Norfolk.

“Although there is still much work to be done to improve outcomes in the secondary phase, the trust has had some fantastic success in the primary academies.

“Our involvement with the trust has always been focused on supporting young people and schools in the West Norfolk area and we can offer particular expertise and experience in supporting transition to post-16 education.”

Dr Ramsey paid tribute to the college’s support for the trust and its member schools since its foundation in 2010.

But he said: “This is an exciting time for the trust and we expect to complete the formalities of appointing new members very soon and will be confirming a new name in the coming weeks.”