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New sponsor to be sought for King's Lynn secondary school

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The future management of a Lynn secondary school has been put into doubt after the trust which runs it revealed it was seeking a new sponsor.

Officials of the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust (EMAT) have today confirmed their intention to transfer the King Edward VII Academy (KES) to another organisation, preferably by this autumn.

They say a switch will give the school the best chance to continue its improvement following a highly critical inspection report two years ago.

King Edward VII Academy, King's Lynn.. (34402458)
King Edward VII Academy, King's Lynn.. (34402458)

In a statement released this morning, the trust said the decision followed a strategic review of its activities. Parents were informed in a letter released yesterday.

KES is one of two secondary schools currently sponsored by EMAT, along with the King's Lynn Academy, and has been part of the trust which became EMAT for the past seven years.

The letter, which the Lynn News has seen, said the organisation had sought ways for the two schools to work together during its tenure.

King Edward VII Academy King's Lynn (KES). (15581681)
King Edward VII Academy King's Lynn (KES). (15581681)

But it added that trustees had now decided it was best for the schools to “operate independently of each other, allowing both to pursue their strengths, and gain sufficient investment to offer the greatest choice to children and families locally.

“Therefore, the Trust has come to the difficult decision to work with the Regional Schools Commissioner to identify a new academy trust that can provide King Edward VII Academy with the educational support and investment it needs to continue improving and delivering for its students.

“This, we believe, is the best path for the academy to continue its journey of improvement.”

KES was rated inadequate by Ofsted in its most recent inspection in 2019.

But two remote monitoring assessments carried out since then, have indicated that progress is being made to address its failings.

In the latest assessment, the findings of which have just been published, inspector John Mitcheson said effective action was being taken to maintain education during the coronavirus lockdown.

He also praised the academy's principal, Sarah Hartshorn, for her "clear vision" for the school.

Ms Hartshorn said today: “This is an exciting opportunity for the academy to continue its improvement journey with a new Trust, which we hope will allow us to build on the successes and improvements that Ofsted highlighted on their recent visit.”

It is hoped that the transfer will be completed in time for the start of the new academic year in September.

But trust chair Julie Perry insisted the move to a new sponsor will not slow the school's progress.

She said: "The recent monitoring inspection by Ofsted showed that the academy is making rapid progress, despite the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19, and we will continue to support the principal and her team while we work to ensure a smooth transfer.”

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