Jan Munn, Norfolk County Council’s Lead Adviser Education & Training will present a short update report on the educational landscape in Thetford.
Jan Munn, Lead Adviser – Education Participation, Infrastructure and Partnerships Services presented her report to the Board. It was highlighted that a new Academy Trust (Eastern MAT) had come into Thetford which included Diamond and Queensway academies. It was important to note that the schools in the area were working very hard to deliver good outcomes for children and it was noted that there were inconsistencies within the data provided.
Norfolk County Council were working alongside the academy trusts and clusters on a project to identify how new growth in Thetford would be accommodated in order to enable the schools to continue to deliver their core purpose.
The Board was informed that consideration was being given to the original suggestion of moving the current Raleigh infant school to the new site. Further detail would be presented to a future meeting of the Board.
ACTION: Jan Munn would gather further information on the indication of growth proposals, and when the new site would be available.
TJ thanked the Officer for the report and felt that the Board should recognise that the new growth could impact on the acceleration of standards for the schools across Thetford. Whilst he understood the significant issues within Thetford schools he felt that there was not enough support staff employed to assist with these issues.
RB felt that as the structure of the Board and Officer group had recently changed it would allow those involved to keep ahead and updated regularly to ensure the new school was delivered effectively.
The Chairman said that social mobility was an issue and within Thetford there were hotspots on attainment figures. He asked if there was an action plan to support primary schools, and what were the future aspirations to ensure that the right Academy trust is sought. It was confirmed that if it was a Local Authority School who received an outstanding Ofsted report then there would be a light touch approach from Norfolk County Council. With regard to social mobility there were a number of key indicators that would fit into this, so would work closely with the schools on this. A similar project was underway within another part of the County where key areas had been identified.
The Chairman confirmed the board would be delighted to support where it could and would replicate the model used within Kings Lynn.
ACTION: The officer group to consider this and report back to the Board.
Councillor Robinson said he would like to see more post 16’s having access to higher education and felt that not all opportunities were signposted for the youth.
Councillor Hollis was concerned that the local bus that used to take children across Thetford had now stopped, many of whom now had to walk along the Croxton Road which was not safe.
ACTION: JM to feed this information back to County Councillors.
The Chairman asked that the schools and communities understood that the Board understood the issues, and it was about sharing information to move forward.
ACTION: JM to feedback to the Board once she has spoken to the clusters.