Fresh start for junior school after tough year as it joins multi-academy trust

A Lynn primary school looks set to start a new chapter after a difficult year saw its head teacher arrested as well as it receiving a termination warning notice.

Howard Junior School in Gaywood, which was previously a Single Academy Trust (SAT) with the Apollo Academies Trust, has joined the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust (EMAT) as of today.

It comes after a tough year for Howard Junior, which saw the arrest of Greg Hill, its head teacher of 16 years, on suspicion of stalking offences on March 6.

Howard Junior School in King's Lynn
Howard Junior School in King’s Lynn

Hill, of Valley Way in Fakenham, who was suspended from the role, will face a trial on June 25 next year after pleading not guilty to harassment without violence and resisting arrest.

The school was later handed a damning report from education watchdog Ofsted in April, with an emergency inspection finding “serious failings” in the way it was run and rating it inadequate.

The team at Howard Junior School was also told in May that the school could have its funding cut after the Apollo Academies Trust received a termination warning notice from the Department for Education.

Howard Junior School’s suspended head teacher Greg Hill
Howard Junior School’s suspended head teacher Greg Hill

EMAT officials are now hoping that the school will go from “strength to strength” – with Linda Hothersall, who has been acting as executive principal, also overseeing Lynn’s Eastgate Academy, which secured its second consecutive outstanding rating in May.

The school has now joined the EMAT group of schools which consists of one secondary – King’s Lynn Academy (KLA) – and ten other primary academies across West Norfolk and Breckland.

Paul Shanks, EMAT’s CEO, said: “We are delighted that Howard Junior School has joined our family of successful schools and look forward to supporting the academy to provide a fantastic standard of education for the children and community it serves.

“Howard Junior is a school with huge potential and the Howard team has already been working closely with EMAT colleagues to ensure a smooth transition. We look forward to seeing the academy go from strength to strength.”

Officials have said they have been supporting Howard Junior School through its school improvement offer, as well as providing leadership capacity through Mrs Hothersall.

Julie Perry, chair of trustees at EMAT, said: “We are pleased to welcome the Howard Junior School community into EMAT.

“The trust has a strong track record in primary across West Norfolk and we look forward to working with the team to drive forward improvements for all pupils and the King’s Lynn community.”