Merged schools aim for bright future

When it opened on former farmland in the 1970s, it only had 24 pupils, one interim headteacher and two gap year teachers from Australia.But a Norfolk school is gearing up for its biggest change in its almost 40 year history in the New Year when it reopens with a new name, new look, new management, and new uniforms.

When it opened on former farmland in the 1970s, it only had 24 pupils, one interim headteacher and two gap year teachers from Australia.

But a Norfolk school is gearing up for its biggest change in its almost 40 year history in the New Year when it reopens with a new name, new look, new management, and new uniforms.

Officials at Abbey Junior School and Canterbury Infant School in Thetford spoke of their excitement last week as they prepared for its transformation into a voluntary aided Church of England primary.

When more than 200 pupils return the educational establishment, in Canterbury Way, on January 7, they will become part of The Bishop's Church of England Primary School as part of a scheme to address years of poor results and underachievement.


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A programme of works has already begun including a completely altered playground, renovation of the buildings and a fresh lick of paint for when children start lessons at the newly formed school after the Christmas break.

Abbey Junior pupils performed a dress rehearsal of their last Christmas play, 'Dr Who does Christmas', last week as they prepared for an end of an era on Friday .

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Paul Macardle , interim headteacher at Abbey Junior, which came out of special measures earlier this year, said staff and students were looking at the changes in a positive way.

“We are not celebrating the closure of the school, but we are looking forward to its next stage. The children are excited about the arrival of new furniture and equipment. The new school will have its own admissions policy, but will continue to meet the needs of the community,” he said.

Abbey Farm Primary School was built in 1970 and was split into separate junior and infant schools as it grew.

Valerie Pye, headteacher of the new The Bishop's Church of England Primary, added that the new senior management and board of governors would continue to develop the nurturing ethos of Abbey Junior and Canterbury Infant School.

“It is a very exciting opportunity and we have lots of interesting ideas for the future to provide the best possible education for each child in the school. The school will have very close links with the Church of England and will be working very closely developing links in the community and local Anglican churches,” she said.

Rosie Ellis, school secretary at Abbey Junior for the last 23 years is set to retire on Friday. Other staff, including Kelly Scott, Clare Allin and Maggie Simpson will also be moving to pastures new as part of the shakeup.

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