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Eastern Multi-Academy Trust receives termination warning notice after Thetford Diamond Academy's 'inadequate' Ofsted

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A schools trust has received a termination warning notice after a Thetford academy was rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted.

Sue Baldwin, Regional Schools Commissioner for East of England and North East London, sent the notice to members and trustees of the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust over the Diamond Academy and warned that its funding agreement could be terminated.

The academy for seven to 11-year-olds, in Hillary Road, was judged 'inadequate' after an inspection on January 18 and 19.

Diamond Academy in Thetford. Picture: Google Maps
Diamond Academy in Thetford. Picture: Google Maps

Ms Baldwin said if she was not satisfied the trust could deliver 'rapid and sustainable improvement' at the academy, she would consider terminating the funding agreement to transfer Diamond to an alternative trust.

Paul Shanks, chief executive officer at Eastern Multi-Academy Trust, said a termination warning notice was normal protocol after an inadequate rating but they recognised the academy was behind in its improvement journey which was 'significantly impacted by both the pandemic and turbulence in staffing'.

He said: "The trust and academy have taken immediate steps to secure rapid improvement and we continue to work closely with the academy leadership to achieve this."

In her letter to the trust, Ms Baldwin said it was necessary to issue the warning as the curriculum was 'not well designed, not all pupils secure essential literacy and numeracy skills and not enough is done to prepare pupils in Year 6 for the next stage of their education'.

She noted that whilst most children behave themselves, 'a minority of older pupils do not behave well enough'.

Ms Baldwin acknowledged the benefit from the extra nurture and support provided for the pastoral care of children who are disadvantaged or SEND and 'effective outdoor teaching is helping to re-engage pupils in learning'.

However, pupils' 'personal development is not promoted well enough'.

Mr Shanks added: "The trust appointed a new and highly experienced principal who started in January of this year and who is working closely with the trust's school improvement lead for the area to improve the curriculum offer and the overall quality of teaching and learning.

"The trust has also been working to support the principal to develop the leadership across the academy.

"The Diamond Academy and trust staff are resolute in their determination to secure the improvement that the children and community of Diamond deserve and we are confident that together we can secure the rapid improvement required."