Primary schools in Diss and Dickleburgh to become academies
Two South Norfolk primary schools are set to become academies as part of a multi-academy trust.
Diss Junior School and Dickleburgh Primary School are the first schools to join in The Diocese of Norwich St Benet's Multi-academy Trust, and became academies at the start of the school term on June 1.
James Richards, headteacher of Dickleburgh Primary School, said entering the school into the trust was a step forward.
"We are keen to take on the challenge of working with other schools to develop new activities and opportunities," he explained.
"The trust hopes to have five schools working together by September this year.
"It's been a long process to get to where we are now, but it will be exciting to see where the trust can take the school and others."
Mr Richards will serve his last term as headteacher before the school becomes an academy. He has held the position for the last 14 years.
He will start his new role as academies improvement director in the new term.
"I've enjoyed my time as headteacher," he said.
"But, it's time to let some new blood have the role and introduce a new way of thinking.
"I'll still support the school, but will have a greater opportunity to help others and explore new opportunities."
The multi-academy trust was officially set up in March and plans to see several schools in South Norfolk work in partnership as academies.
Mr Richard's view on the academy change-over is shared by executive head of Diss Junior School and Diss Infants School, Jo Cerullo.
After teaching for 21 years in Kent, she started her role at the schools in April.
She believes it will provide a fresh start going forward for the school, which received an inadequate rating from Ofsted in a previous inspection.
"This is a phenomenal school with exceptional children," she added.
"Being part of the new trust will allow us to have a clear vision on where we will take the school, give us higher aspirations, and also develop a closer relationship with surrounding schools - having a positive impact on the community, too.
"We will be at the ground floor of the new trust and hope to get the best for our school and community."
A consultation to change Diss Infants School into an academy is currently underway.
Chief executive officer for the multi-academy trust, Lee Stevens, said: "We became a legal entity in March after 18 months of planning, but it has all gone smoothly.
"We want to capitalise on the pool of expertise in the two schools and have them working closely together.
"If there is a teacher who excels in a subject area in one school, we will encourage peer-coaching so those skills can be shared between both schools and pupils benefit."
Mr Stevens said that, while signage outside the schools may change, the everyday running of the school will remain the same.