Battle over future of Norwich primary school could head for the courts

Simon Wright MP, chats with one of the campaign organisers, Tina Boulter, front, as concerned parents campaign to stop Cavell Primary school becoming an academy. Picture: Denise Bradley Simon Wright MP, chats with one of the campaign organisers, Tina Boulter, front, as concerned parents campaign to stop Cavell Primary school becoming an academy. Picture: Denise Bradley

Martin George Education correspondent martin.george@archant.co.uk
Thursday, March 6, 2014
10:00 AM

The battle over the future of Cavell Primary School could move towards the courts after opponents to it becoming an academy started legal proceedings.

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The school was put into special measures last May after Ofsted inspectors said it was “inadequate”.

Cavell’s governing body wanted it to join nearby schools in the embryonic Norwich Co-operative Learning Trust, rather than become an academy as Norfolk County Council preferred, and was supported by a vocal parents’ campaign group.

The council later replaced the governors with an interim executive board (IEB), which last month decided the school should become a sponsored academy under the Right to Success group.

However, Ofsted returned to the school for a full inspection on January 29 and took the school out of special measures, giving it an improved rating of “requires improvement”.

Although no-one from the anti-academy campaign was willing to speak about the legal challenge, it is understood lawyers for the Norwich Co-operative Learning Trust have written to the council and IEB threatening a judicial review of the decision to convert to an academy.

It is believed they are arguing that, because the school is no longer in the special measures that originally sparked the appointment of the interim governors, those governors no longer have the legal power to apply for the school to become an academy.

In January a judge halted the conversion of Warren Comprehensive School in London into an academy for consultations on possible alternatives.

David Lennard Jones, chairman of Cavell Primary’s interim executive board, said: “The IEB is delighted that Cavell Primary School and Nursery has improved enough for the inspector to judge that it can come out of special measures. The school still requires improvement and the IEB has had the task of choosing the best option for taking the school forward. It concluded the best option was for the school to become an academy alongside a school judged to be outstanding, so there is good governance, best practice can be shared and children get the best possible opportunities to learn and achieve.’’

Norfolk County Council said its legal team was considering the points raised and said its support for Cavell Primary becoming an academy remained unchanged.

Do you think that Cavell Primary School should become an academy? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

9 comments

  • isn't democracy a wonderful thing! In suffolk there is ies breckland (a profit making free school) that is also in trouble, and where do we go from here? If the parents don't want it, if the staff don't want it, why does gove insist on pushing the authority to make it happen? Once again the children of the future will be the ones to suffer. Bullying? Looks like it.

    Report this comment

    davidbrian56

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • It's not at all like that, Camberwick Green. The Trust exists, despite NCC's best efforts to obstruct its creation. And unlike Father Christmas (or even sponsored academies), there is a clear evidence base to demonstrate that co-operation and collaboration has a real and measurable effect in improving education. There were a number of articles on education in the EDP last week, and a recurring theme was the benefit of co-operative working between schools. The article on Aylsham High went into this in some depth.

    Report this comment

    djw

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • I find it more than a little disturbing that Norfolk County Council continue to insist that they're doing the right thing even while trying to work out whether it's actually legal.

    Report this comment

    djw

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • This pathetic, undemocratic bullying by NCC who is desperate to do the DFE's academy bidding having failed as an LA. Academies are a joke and are failing too so back off.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • I can't help seeing the parallels between NCC v Cavell Primary School and Russia v Ukrane. Here we have two super powers acting against the human rights of smaller groups of people. In both scenarious the oppressed have attempted to conjure support from like minded peoples.The Ukrian looking toThe Democratic People's Union of Democratic Europeans...TDPUDE) and Cavell to The Embryonic Norwich Co-operative Learning Trust (TENCLT). Of course the politics are reversed in each scenario, with the Ukraine trying to break away from the controlled market within the soviet state, and sink or swim in a free market, whereas Cavell Primary wants to join a Soviet like educational cooperative. Will the free state strangle Cavells break for errr central control? will the Ukraine break into the free world....all remains up in the air.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • All the evidence is on the side of the campaign, and all the pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking is from those who continue to insist that academies are the only option for improving a school, even as numerous academies collapse in scandal and bitter recriminations. But even if that wasn't the case, so what? Is a possible marginal benefit for academies over other school models (which is all even the DfE claimed to Cavell parents) sufficient justification for the abuse of power to usurp the rightful governors, and install a puppet IEB in their place with instructions to deliver a particular answer? Is it enough to justify that even when the school is no longer in special measures? Is it enough to justify secrecy and intrigue through this whole process, even refusing to respond to a FOI request? Clearly not.

    Report this comment

    djw

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • ...."embryonic Norwich Co-operative Learning Trust".....surely you mean the imaginary NCLT. Its bit like offering Father Xmas as a viable alternative going to the shops for your presents.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • If it was legal they would KNOW it was. This is a case of power to the parents and pupils. Academies are not the answer for most schools. Certainly not the answer in this case where the board of governors has been imposed on this school. Justice will prevail

    Report this comment

    Janet Bayes

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • ..."Justice will prevail "....perhaps you could call your campaign FCFJ....Father Christmas's For Justice.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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