Hewett School Will become Academy

5 August 2015, 13:08 | Updated: 5 August 2015, 13:16

The Department for Education has confirmed Norwich's Hewett School will become an academy.

From September, it will be run by the Inspiration Trust, which already runs several schools around Norfolk and Suffolk.

A DfE spokesperson said: "Our priority is to make sure every child has the chance to get an excellent education and the best start in life. Ofsted's recent report on the Hewett School could not be clearer that immediate change is required in order for that to happen.

"As we have seen time and again, becoming an academy with the support of a strong sponsor is the quickest and most effective way to bring about rapid and sustained improvement.

"That is why Hewett School will become an academy under Inspiration Trust, a strong sponsor with a proven track record of delivering rapid improvements in underperforming secondary schools. This has been taken with the best interests of children in mind and will help to secure the long term future of the school."

The school is currently a foundation school operated by the Central Norwich Foundation Trust. The CNFT decided in 2012 to become an academy, but the proposals did not go ahead.

The school was placed in special measures in 2014 and in March 2015 an Interim Executive Board was appointed to run it following concerns about long-term poor attainment, attendance, and falling roll.

Tom Leverage was appointed headteacher by the IEB in May 2015, and will continue as principal when the Inspiration Trust takes over responsibility for the school.

The freehold of the site will transfer from the CNFT to the Inspiration Trust, with legal protection for existing community use. Part of the site will be reserved for the proposed new Wherry Free School.

Inspiration Trust chief executive Rachel de Souza said: "We are thrilled by the opportunity to make the Hewett great again for the people of Norwich.

"There is only a short time before the academy opens in September, and we are already busy working with the principal, Tom Leverage, to support his priorities for the Hewett.

"On his advice we will be refurbishing key areas of the academy this summer, using Inspiration Trust funds, and looking longer term at how we can make the more fundamental improvements the Hewett so desperately needs.

"We are delighted to be keeping the Hewett name, with the new academy known as the Hewett Academy, Norwich, with a new badge inspired by the city's history.

"We know there is great love for the Hewett locally and some nervousness about its future. With his community role and existing experience as a school governor, I have today written to Norwich North MP Clive Lewis inviting him to join the new governing body.

"We are proud to be stepping up to the challenge of reinvigorating the Hewett, and we hope Mr Lewis will too."

 The Hewett Academy, Norwich principal Tom Leverage said: "I know some parents have some concerns about the changes, but for me the most important thing is that we now have certainty for our pupils, our staff, and our school.

"I have gotten to know the Inspiration Trust during the consultation period, and I am delighted to have their support to take the school forward.

"I believe keeping the whole site with the school is the right decision, as it is the best way of ensuring the safety of the children in our care and of the community groups that use our facilities.

"Since starting at the school I have spoken to many pupils and parents to hear both what they love about the school and where things could be better. We have already started work to revamp the sixth form.

"The Trust has promised its full support for my plans as we begin this new chapter in the school's proud history.

"The academy name retains the link with Mordecai Hewett, a successful 17th century Norwich gentleman who set up a charity to help the young people of Norwich get started in life, and that is a mission I am proud to continue."