School plan gets boost

PUBLISHED: 13:54 19 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:23 03 July 2010

A radical rebuild of a Great Yarmouth primary school aimed at transforming the life chances of children in one of the borough's most deprived wards is set to be brought forward.

A radical rebuild of a Great Yarmouth primary school aimed at transforming the life chances of children in one of the borough's most deprived wards is set to be brought forward.

Results at Greenacre Primary have put it in the government's “hard to shift” category and although plans are at an early stage they seek to head off a closure threat by creating a modern learning complex likely to take up the bulk of the 2011-12 allocation of £10m.

Despite the huge demand for capital projects, a report to Norfolk County Council's Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel said Greenacre was “a school of concern”.

Tim Newton, senior development officer for children's services, said: “It's really good news for Greenacre. It is a major project and we will need time to plan it. We will be very much involving the community and work-ing out what we are trying to create. It is not going to be a bog standard school, it will be a school for learning for the future so we will be as flexible as possible with the design.

“Standards have not been improving with the kind of speed that the government would like and it is therefore challenging the local authority to come up with a radical proposal. The school is making progress now under acting leadership.”

He stressed that planning the learning role would come before bricks and mortar and that pupils and parents would have their say.

“It will be a modern new design and it will be what is right for Greenacre,” he added.

The school has seen seven experienced headteachers in the last eight years and progress is said to be “slow and difficult”.

Without radical action, the Department for Children, Schools and Families could decide to close the school, panel members were told in a report.

It adds that a lack of community involvement had held back improvement. However, last year Ofsted rated the 473-pupil school as “satisfactory” overall and said it was “turning a corner”.

John Holmes, whose county council ward includes the school, said: “I really welcome the fact that at last something major is going to be done at Greenacre. It has been a long time coming. All children deserve a 21st- century school.”

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