Transition from Primary School

Transition information

Our Ethos

Downham Market Academy is a place where realising the academic potential and developing the emotional and social intelligence of each student is the highest priority.  We are a welcoming and happy community where students and staff are respectful towards each other and the environment.  We have the highest expectations of ourselves and of others and we are always striving to support each other to do better.

Our ethos is a set of shared values that the whole community is proud to contribute to.

At Downham Market Academy, we all:

  • Demonstrate a can do attitude
  • Make visitors feel welcome
  • Aspire to meet our potential by valuing learning and achievement
  • Ensure we take pride in our appearance
  • Treat others with respect
  • Have respect for the environment and our neighbours
  • Own our actions and take responsibility for them
  • Support others by working together

Key Staff at DMA

Rolf Purvis

Rolf Purvis

Executive Headteacher

Mark Eastwood

Head of School

Natalie Paine

Natalie Paine

Deputy Headteacher (SENDCO)

Sue Campbell

Sue Campbell

Assistant Headteacher (safeguarding & pastoral care)

Bev Ireland

Bev Ireland

Assistant SENDCO & Transition Leader

Annie Locke

Annie Locke

Head of Year 7


Main Contact Information

Downham Market Academy
Bexwell Road
Downham Market
PE38 9LL

T 01366 389100

Staff email
eg Joe Blogs is  

We also share information on our Facebook page

EdulinkOne Logo

You will shortly receive an email to activate your “EduLink One” account through either the website or app that can be downloaded to phones and tablets.

This is a new platform that will be the “one-stop-shop” for school/home communication so it is important that you do activate your account and regularly check it.  EduLink One will be used to report absence, send messages regarding rewards, allow you up to date access on timetables & attendance and much more.

Who and How to contact

All staff at Downham Market Academy are happy and willing to speak to you about any queries or concerns you may have but please be aware that there is a high chance that the person you need to speak to will be teaching. Therefore, we advise you to:

  • Email the member of staff to arrange a mutually convenient time to speak on the telephone or meet in person
  • Not arrive at the Academy unannounced as there may not be anybody suitable who is free to speak to you at that time

In the table below, you will find suggestions on who to contact at the Academy with specific concerns you may have.

Nature of ConcernWho to Contact
Serious issuesHead of Year
Mrs Locke
Your child is struggling in a particular subjectSubject teacher
Your child is struggling in most subjectsForm tutor
Friendships issues/feeling lonely/isolatedForm tutor
Concerns about your child’s teaching groupsHead of Year
Mrs Locke
Serious home situationsHead of Year
Mrs Locke

Parents' Evenings

Each year group has one Parents’ Evening organised where parents can come in to the Academy and meet with their child’s teachers.

For Year 7, there will be an additional evening where parents meet the Form Tutor and discuss how their child has settled into life at the Academy and any additional support that may be needed.

Appointments are arranged through an online booking system that you will be provided details of nearer the time.


Items which must be purchased from the Uniform Supplier

  • Navy blazer with Academy logo
  • Tie in House colour
  • Navy V-neck jumper with Academy logo
  • PE polo shirt and 1/4 Zip fleece top with Academy logo and House colour side panels.  There is also an optional PE rugby top, again with the Academy logo and House colour side panels

These items are not permitted

  • Makeup is not permitted in Years 7 and 8
  • Excessive makeup, for example false eyelashes is not permitted for any student
  • Brightly coloured or patterned nail varnish, including false nails and extensions
  • No jewellery, other than one small stud in each ear and a watch, is permitted.  Retainer bars are not acceptable for facial piercings
  • Large belt buckles with brands and/or logos
  • Extreme hair styles and colours
  • Permanent and temporary tattoos such as henna
DMA Students in Uniform

Term Dates

We do not follow the standard Norfolk term dates so please do check before booking any holidays

This year these dates are dependent on Government advice around the Covid-19 pandemic and are subject to change

Start of Academic Year6th September 2021
Year 7,11 & 12 only
7th September 2021
All students in school
Training Day
Closed to students
1st October 20214th October 2021
All students in school
October Half Term25th October 2021 to
29th October 2021
1st November 2021
All students in school
Training Day
Closed to students
26th November 202129th November 2021
All students in school
Christmas Break20th December 2021 to
3rd January 2022
4th January 2022
All students in school
February Half Term14th February 2022 to
18th February 2022
21st February 2022
All students in school
Easter Break4th April 2022 to
18th April 2022
19th April 2022
All students in school
Early May Bank Holiday
Closed to students
2nd May 20223rd May 2022
All students in school
May Half Term
incl. Late May Bank Holiday
& Queen’s platinum jubilee
30th May 2022 to
3rd June 2022
6th June 2022
All students in school
End of Academic Year21st July 2022Last day of term for all students


At Downham Market Academy we recognise the impact that bullying can have on the wellbeing of young people and as such, we have robust mechanisms in place to ensure that:

  • Reporting bullying is simple
  • Reports of bullying are handled sensitively
  • Follow up action with the victim and bully is timely, thorough and tailored to the individual circumstance, taking into account the wishes of the victim
  • A record is kept of all instances of bullying such that patterns can be identified
  • The impact of any action taken is evaluated during follow up discussions with the victim
  • Good practise is shared with other colleagues

All students, staff and parents are encouraged to report all instances of bullying.  This can either be done verbally to the Form Tutor, Pastoral Leader or other trusted member of staff and we ask that all bullying is reported using the online form that generates a “Bullying Response File”

We were very proud to be awarded “Silver” school status in the Anti-Bullying Alliance “all together” programme this year

The Academy Day

The Academy day begins at 8:50 and finishes at 3:00

We start the day with a 20 minute tutorial session where students complete PSHE activities

There are then three lessons, each being 100 minutes long.  We find that this provides our students with the best opportunity to become immersed in the subject and deepen understanding

Clubs run at the end of the day, most finish at 4pm but some will go on for longer

We operate a two-week timetable so each alternate week will have slightly different subjects in it.

8.00 onwardsStudents can arrive at the Academy
8.50Students must arrive by this time to ensure that form time can start promptly at 8:55
8.55 – 9.15Personal development & wellbeing
9.15 – 10.05Period 1
10.05 – 10.55Period 2
10.55 – 11.15Early Lunch
11.15 – 12.05Period 3
12.05 – 12.55Period 4
12.55 – 1.20Late Lunch
1.20 – 2.10Period 5
2.10 – 3.00Period 6
3.00 – 4.00Period 7 Intervention sessions & extra curricular activities

Virtual Tour / Site Map

Take a whistlestop tour of our site and explore the main areas and blocks – all starting from The Big Tree!

Getting to the Academy

Downham Market Academy serves a large, mainly rural community and many of our students live in the surrounding villages and countryside.

We advise all students who live in Downham Market Academy to either walk or cycle to us.  Access is via the gate at the front of the Academy and there will be staff on hand to greet everyone as they arrive.

If you live further afield and are within our catchment area, Norfolk County Council should provide free transport for your child.  This is usually on one of the many buses and coaches that arrive and depart each day.  There is a dedicated bus park, supervised by staff in the morning and afternoon, where students are dropped off or collected.  You can apply for free school transport on the NCC transport page.

If you have any queries regarding home to school transport, please contact Norfolk County Council on 0344 8008020

To avoid congestion in and around the Academy site at the start and end of the day, we ask that parents do not drive their children in/home.  There is very limited parking on the Academy site and this is reserved for parents dropping off or collecting children who are disabled or injured.  If car transport is unavoidable, please use the large laybys adjacent and opposite the Academy to drop off or collect your child.

What to bring

It is important that all students are fully equipped for all their lessons each day.  This ensures a smooth and purposeful start to each lesson where learning can start straight away.  The Academy will provide exercise books for all lessons and it is vital that students bring these to each lesson

We ask that students bring a pencil case containing:

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Ruler
  • Eraser
  • Sharpener
  • Glue stick
  • Coloured pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Maths equipment (protractor, compass, set square)
  • Scientific calculator (we recommend the “Aurora AX595”)

It is also important that students bring a reading book to the Academy every day

We do not allow the use of mobile phones, tablets or other portable devices at any time during the Academy day

iPads to enhance learning

In 2020, we invested in a new WiFi network at the Academy to support all students having an iPad to use in lessons and take home with them.

iPads support and enhance learning both in school and at home and have become a powerful tool that improves independent learning and provides a wealth of opportunities for teachers to engage students in lessons.

We ask for regular contributions from parents/carers for the iPad that allows this already successful scheme to be sustainable for years to come.

Find out more on the iPad Scheme page.

Food & the canteen

Every day our catering team prepares a variety fresh, home-cooked options that include a hot meals or grab and go snacks, a salad buffet and pre-filled sandwiches and rolls as well as sweet treats.  Our food is tasty and nutritious!

Food is served from the Food Hall before school, at break time and at lunchtime.  We use a cashless-catering system so parents will have access, via ParentMail, to provide money for their children to buy food and drink.  We do this using student thumbprints.

A sensible amount to budget for each day is around £2.50.  This is enough for a student to buy a main meal, dessert and drink at lunchtime.  If your child wishes to buy a snack at break time in addition to this, they will need a higher daily budget.

If your child is entitled to Free School Meals, their account will be automatically topped up to allow purchase of a main meal, dessert and drink at lunchtime.  If you think your child may be entitled to Free School Meals, the criteria and application details are available on the Norfolk County Council website.

Each year group has it’s own dedicated time to purchase food from the Food Hall so not all students access the canteen at the same time.  This ensures there is ample room for students to sit in the dining areas and enjoy their lunch.  We operate a one-way system through the canteen to ensure safe and fair queuing for the different serving areas.

Extra-curricular Clubs

At any one time, there are around fifty clubs and subject support sessions that students can attend.  These are all advertised on our “Club Wall” in the canteen area as well as on our website.

We hope that every student will join one club or take part in one extra curricular activity that is organised throughout the academic year.

The Curriculum

Key Stage Three (Year 7/8/9) is designed to enable every student, regardless of starting point, to arrive at Key Stage Four (Year 10/11) having had a broad and balanced curriculum to provide a solid foundation for lifelong learning.

All students develop a range of skills from linguistic and mathematical to social and artistic. This offer can differ from student to student (some students study their subjects in a more traditional timetable, while others may study subjects for a longer time each day),  however we design the curriculum for a child in collaboration with them and their parents, there is always opportunity for refining; no child is ever stuck in their curriculum.

Most students follow a curriculum of: English; Maths; Science; Computer Science; Geography; History; French, Spanish or Latin; Religious Education & Ethics; Art; Drama; Music; Physical Education and Technology.

For some students, we amalgamate the subjects and content above into fewer areas of study with even greater cross curricular links. These students spend a slightly different amount of time on particular subjects allowing them more time to develop core skills in English and Maths where they make accelerated progress.

Some students will receive extra opportunities to improve basic skills in literacy, numeracy, reading and handwriting, for example.


Educational research continues to highlight the benefit of homework for students, not just on academic progress in subject areas but also on personal skills such as independent working; communication and resilience.

We will set homework from the first week but this will be phased in for different subjects.  We expect students in Year 7 to spend around 30 minutes per subject every week on homework.  We will always give clear deadlines that are realistic.

Many students stay at the end of the Academy day to use our library, computers or Homework Support Club to complete tasks before they go home.

If there are any problems completing the homework, please get in touch with the subject teacher by email or by writing a note in your child’s exercise book.

Assessment and Feedback

All students will complete “common assessments” throughout the year and these will inform teachers of the progress being made and any areas for further development.

Common assessments are completed in purple “Feedback Books” that remain in classrooms at the Academy.  This is the only work that is “marked” and so feedback to students will be detailed and thorough.  Students will be given time to respond to the teacher feedback by way of extension tasks, corrections or consolidation.

Reporting progress

We will update you once a term on your child’s progress.  As part of the Progress Updates you will receive a breakdown of the skills studied in each subject (known as ‘Assessment Foci’). Each Assessment Foci will be given a grade; a description of what that means your child has achieved in their assessments and what they need to do to improve.


In addition your child will receive three summary grades for each subject:

  • Expected GCSE grade: the grade that we expect your child to achieve at the end of Year 11 based on their recent assessments. We assume that your child will make the standard level of progress of a typical student at Downham Market Academy.
  • Potential Grade: the grade that your child should be aiming to achieve at the end of Year 11. This is calculated using information from the CAT tests, the SATs and the Fischer Family Trust. This is an aspirational grade and will challenge your child to produce their best work at all times.
  • Attitude to Learning: a brief description of your child’s attitude to learning in the subject

To reflect the new GCSEs, we will be reporting all grades as the new, numbered GCSE grades.  The Government has tied the bottom of a new Grade “4” to the bottom of an old Grade “C” and the bottom of a new Grade “7” to the bottom of an old Grade “A”. The top Grade of “9” will be awarded to approximately the top 3% nationally in each subject. A Grade “5” (equivalent to the top third of an old Grade “C” and the bottom third of an old Grade “B”) is the new benchmark grade.

Absence and Attendance

Having good attendance is absolutely crucial to a young person achieving his/her potential in school.  We consider good attendance to be a minimum 96% which equates to no more than 8 days off across the whole academic year.

AttendanceDays missedWeeks missedHours of learning missed
Graph showing how attendance affects exam results

The table above shows just how much learning time is lost as the percentage attendance falls.  The chart shows the clear link between attendance and academic achievement – attending at least 96% of the time significantly improves the chances of attaining higher GCSE grades.

If your child is absent due to illness, medical or other appointments, it is important that you inform us by contacting the Attendance Officer through the EduLink app with the reason for the absence, on each day that the student is absent, by 8.35am. If we do not receive this information, we will contact you for the reason.  You can also speak to our Attendance Officer using the dedicated line: 01366 389175.

In addition, please ensure that the Attendance Officer has been notified, in writing, in advance of any appointments that necessitate your child having to leave the Academy during the day.  If we do not receive this written confirmation we may not be able to let the student leave school.  For medical appointments, please provide a copy of the appointment card so that the absence is coded correctly.  Again, this can be done through your EduLink account.

Wellbeing and Pastoral Care

At Downham Market Academy, we aim to support young people to develop emotionally as well as academically and we do this via our pastoral care system.
All students have a tutor that they will see every morning at the start of the day and this tutor should be the first point of contact for both students and parents if there are any problems or concerns.  In addition to this, we have a Head of Year 7 (Mrs Locke).  Students will be encouraged to compete in various activities throughout the year and represent their House.

Year 7 tutor groups will be comprised of students from a mixture of Houses but will only contain students from Year 7 to aid their transition to secondary school and ensure that they settle into life at Downham Market Academy.

Sue Campbell (Lead DSL)Assistant Headteacher – Pastoral
Annie LockeHead of Year 7
Rachael HopleyHead of Year 8
Dave MasdinHead of Year 9
Lewis Swatman (DSL)Head of Year 10
Shaun RipponHead of Year 11
Bev Ireland (DSL)
Transition Leader and Assistant SENCo
Louise O’Keefe
Assistant Head of Year 11
Faye Low
Assistant Head of Duffy House
James WilliamsAssistant Head of Dyson House
Ellie Cook
Assistant Head of Holmes House
Casey Ward
Assistant Head of Peake House
Natalie Paine
Executive SENCo
Kirsty WardBehaviour Support
Sarah VenniAttendance Officer


Under the Education Act 2002 (section 175), the Academy must make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Downham Market Academy will establish and maintain an ethos where students feel secure, are encouraged to talk, are listened to and are safe.

The law (Children Act 1989) requires all school staff to pass on information which gives rise to concern about a child’s welfare, including risk from neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. We will seek, in general, to discuss any concerns with the parent/carer, and where appropriate seek their consent to a referral to Social Care. This will only be done where such discussion will not place the child at increased risk of significant harm.

The Academy will collaborate with colleagues from the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board when we have reasonable cause to suspect a child may be suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. Occasionally, concerns are passed on which are later shown to be unfounded. Parents/carers will appreciate that the designated person for child protection was carrying out their responsibilities in accordance with the law and acting in the best interest of all children.

Sue Campbell

Sue Campbell

Assistant Headteacher

Lead Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

Natalie Paine

Natalie Paine

Deputy Headteacher

Deputy Lead DSL
Responsibility for Looked After Children (LAC)

Mark Eastwood

Head of School

Responsibility for Safer Recruitment and Single Central Record

Rolf Purvis

Rolf Purvis

Executive Headteacher

Deputy DDSL

Sue Hudson

Sue Hudson

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Bev Ireland

Bev Ireland

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Lewis Swatman

Lewis Swatman

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Karen Lonsdale

Karen Lonsdale

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Kirsty Ward

Kirsty Ward

Designated Safeguarding Lead

All staff at the Academy understand their responsibility for safeguarding our students and we conduct training at least half-termly.  We have a team of Designated Safeguarding Leads who are all trained to a higher level to support students and their families.

Special Educational Needs

The SEN Department at DMA is made up of the SENDCo, Assistant SENDCo and a dedicated team of Progress Support Workers. 

Our provision for learners with additional needs and disabilities is wide ranging and we believe that the child should be at the centre of all decisions made. We work hard to ensure that provision is individualised and fulfils the purpose of enabling learners to overcome challenges they may experience both in the classroom and in other school situations.

The Inclusion Room is a safe space in the Academy where students can come to join breakfast, break, lunch and afterschool clubs. We encourage students to play board games and support social interactions during these times. In addition, the Inclusion room is be used for intervention sessions by students who require a little more support with specific skills such as reading, handwriting, numeracy – the list is endless and sessions are tailored to the needs of the students.

We have an open door policy and are available throughout the school day should students need a listening ear or a quiet space.

For learners with specific needs we work with outside agencies to ensure in school support is proactive and fit for purpose – these agencies include the Virtual School for Sensory Support, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Educational Psychology and Access Through Technology.

If you have any concerns regarding your child please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss any support needs, email

Natalie Paine

Natalie Paine

Assistant Headteacher (SENDCO)

Bev Ireland

Bev Ireland

Assistant SENDCO & Transition Leader

Lourdes Luyten-Coelho

Progress Support Worker

Michelle Parker

Michelle Parker

Progress Support Worker

Marie Patmore

Marie Patmore

Progress Support Worker


We have a number of lockers that are available for parents to rent from our supplier “Prefect Equipment”

These are located on the playgrounds and are totally weather-proof.  Students can leave heavy items such as PE kits in these rather than carry them round all day.

Further details will be sent to parents in the new term.

Lost Property

It is important that all items of uniform and non-uniform which are worn to, or at school, are clearly named (child’s forename and surname).  This is particularly important for items such as ties and blazers as well as coats, PE Kits, trainers, bags and pencil cases.

All named items of lost property that we receive at Reception are always returned to students.  We have, on a regular basis, large amounts of unclaimed and unnamed clothing/equipment which accumulates in lost property. 

If your child misplaces an item of clothing or equipment; they should come to Reception at the end of the Academy day to look through the lost property.  Parents are also welcome to come to Reception from 3.00pm – 3.45pm each week day during term time to look through the lost property for any items your child has lost.  Due to the fact that our Reception area is very busy during the school day, students will not be permitted to come to Reception and look through lost property at any other times.

Any items which remain unclaimed at the end of a term will be sent to a charity shop for recycling.  Alternatively, if they are Academy uniform items, they may be used by the Academy as ‘spares’.

Emergency Closure

In the very rare event that the Academy is closed in an emergency, for example very poor weather or no water, there are three main scenarios:

Emergency closure planned at least one day in advance

We will use EduLink One to explain why we need to close and when we intend to re-open.  We will also place a message on our website and Facebook page.

Emergency closure early in the morning and before the start of school

We may not know, until the early morning of the day of closure, that it is necessary to close the Academy (for example, due to very adverse weather over night. The vast majority of teachers at Downham Market Academy live in outlying areas of the town and beyond, and many could have difficulty travelling in those circumstances). In this event, we will:

  • place a closure message prominently on the homepage of our website and publicise through Facebook
  • send an alert through EduLink One with details of the closure

Emergency closure during the school day

We will notify parents by EduLink One, the website and Facebook.  We will send home all those students for whom contact can be established with parents (or other nominated emergency contact person).  Students who have mobile telephones will be authorised to use them by their teacher, in this circumstance.  Where contact cannot be established, we will keep the students at school until the normal end of the day.  We will use the Academy website and Facebook page to provide further information.

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