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Norwich's first Academy opens its doors

OpenUniformNorfolk's first Academy school opened its doors to pupils for the first time yesterday (September 3), with staff promising a more personalised approach on how to work - and look - smarter.

The Open Academy, which replaced Heartsease High School in Norwich, is being backed by Christian businessman Graham Dacre and the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James.

Classes got under way for the youngest year 7 children and also the year 11 pupils, with consultants brought in to offer older teenagers tips on how to organise their studies most effectively.

Parents were also invited to the school last night to find out what role they could play to help their children do well.

Staff, who were also looking smart, were manning the school gates to set straight ties and upturned collars as part of the new Academy ethos.

The school has switched to a vertical system, which means form groups contain a mix of ages.

There are also four new houses, Inspiration, Destiny, Challenge and Respect.

The school is introducing a boy-girl seating system in class, amid evidence that a mix improves concentration levels.

Graham Dacre said: "Bishop Graham and I are delighted the Academy has opened its doors.  
The students appear pleased with the new uniform and the improvements made to the school over the summer.
"The road to success may be a long one but in 24 months the new building will be ready. In the meantime there is much that can be achieved. The future will undoubtedly be exciting."

Principal Lindsay Knight said it had been a smooth start to the new term.

“The big talking point has been the new uniform,” she said.

“We are making it quite clear to the students that our expectations have risen in terms of how we treat them and how they treat each other. That's part of the new house system.

“There's a really good atmosphere.”

Campaigners including some parents fought the switch from local education control to the academy system.

Ms Knight hoped that now the school was up and running, everyone will get behind it, while the new ethos was aimed at fostering a more personalised approach.

The next task facing the school will be the building of a new site.

Staff will also look at an overhaul of the curriculum, which may see a switch to more vocational subjects. “I know there have been real concerns in the community and we will spend time listening to what parents have to say and reflecting on their ideas,” added Ms Knight.

“The point is all parents are supportive of their children and I am sure the vast majority will be behind us.”

Pictured above are Open Academy pupils in the new uniform.

Story extracts and picture courtesy of


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Network Norwich and Norfolk > News Archive > 2008 News Archive > Norwich's first Academy opens its doors

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