Friday, February 14, 2014
A school at the centre of a row over a forced conversion to an academy has been removed from special measures – but could still become an academy.
Opponents to the conversion of Cavell Primary School say the interim executive board (IEB) – which replaced the board of governors last year – does not have the power to request the conversion, and have threatened legal action should the bid go ahead.
But the board insists that joining the Right for Success Trust, which already runs the outstanding-rated Eaton Hall School, is necessary to bring “long-term and sustained improvement to the school”, and that “the status quo is not an option”.
The school, in Duckett Close, was put into special measures last May, and devised an action plan which inspectors judged fit for purpose, though Norfolk County Council wanted the school to become an academy despite the governors’ request to be given time to form a cooperative learning trust with other schools.
The governors were replaced by the IEB, which is now proposing the school applies to the Secretary of State for Education to invite Right for Success to become a sponsor.
Cavell Primary was removed from special measures following a monitoring visit on January 29 and 30, with inspectors noting “the school is well placed to continue to improve.”
Former chair of governors Rob Anthony said he was “absolutely amazed” the board was targeting academy conversion, and questioned whether it had the powers now the school was out of special measures and no longer eligible for intervention.
“As far as I’m concerned, the legislation is very clear that it does not have those powers. I think the IEB should abolish itself and get a properly appointed board of parents and staff back in place as soon as possible. He added: “They are inviting a legal challenge and they are going to get a legal challenge.”
IEB chairman David Lennard Jones said the board was “responsible for deciding how to secure long-term and sustainable improvement” and had concluded “inviting an outstanding local academy trust to work with the school as a sponsored academy will provide the experience, practical support and challenge that will help the school progress on in its improvement journey and secure a strong and successful future for the school.”
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