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Norwich Road Academy in Thetford receives 'requires improvement' rating from Ofsted



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A Thetford primary school head says her team 'look forward to securing a positive outcome' at their next Ofsted inspection after they received a 'requires improvement' rating.

Inspectors visited Norwich Road Academy, in Norwich Road, in March and noted personal development, behaviour, leadership and management and early years were all 'good'.

However, the quality of education was rated 'requires improvement' and the overall effectiveness in the same category.

Headteacher at Norwich Road Academy Julia Miles said her team had 'brought about significant improvement, even in the face of the challenges of the pandemic and was looking forward to securing 'a positive outcome at the next inspection'. Picture: Mecha Morton
Headteacher at Norwich Road Academy Julia Miles said her team had 'brought about significant improvement, even in the face of the challenges of the pandemic and was looking forward to securing 'a positive outcome at the next inspection'. Picture: Mecha Morton

During the visit, inspectors noted pupils enjoyed taking part in classroom activities planned by staff, however they also noted learning experiences could vary in classes and they were not receiving consistently high-quality lessons across the whole curriculum.

They also noted pupils enjoyed working with the 'kind and helpful' staff and saw this as a selling point for their school.

Children shared openly about how adults supported their learning and emotional needs and how they were helped to grow up to be ready for the future.

Norwich Road Academy, Thetford. Picture: Google Maps
Norwich Road Academy, Thetford. Picture: Google Maps

Yet, inspectors also noted some teachers did not have 'sufficiently strong' specialist knowledge to teach new learning effectively.

Occasionally, they said, this resulted in 'missed opportunities' to make sure lesson content was ambitious and in line with leaders' intended curriculum aims.

They added: "Leaders should complete the work they are doing, with a clear vision and continued urgency, to ensure consistency in the quality of what is being taught.

"Leaders need to make sure learning across the full curriculum supports all pupils, to access, practise and remember the important knowledge they need to be successful."

Following the results of the inspection, headteacher at Norwich Road Academy Julia Miles, said the school was pleased Ofsted recognised 'the many strengths of the academy and the importance that we place on understanding the needs of every child'.

She added: "We were also pleased that the hard work of the team in developing our curriculum offer, including extra curricular activities and opportunities, came out strongly as we place great importance on this element of our work.

"We were clearly disappointed to not achieve a good overall judgement but the team recognised the significant progress that has been made by the school with support from our Trust.

"This was evident in the good grades for Personal Development, Behaviour, Leadership and Management and Early Years.

"As a school we have come a long way and continue to strive to ensure that all of our children have a great experience with us.

"Since my appointment as principal in September 2019, the team has brought about significant improvement, even in the face of the challenges of the pandemic, and we look forward to securing a positive outcome at the next inspection."

Norwich Road Academy, part of the Eastern Multi Academy Trust, has just over 340 pupils on its roll.

It accommodates children aged between three to 11.