Educating Norfolk: Academies and free schools
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 February 2014
The rise of the academy and free school movement has been the most controversial development in Norfolk education.
For supporters, freedoms over curriculum and staffing allow innovation and strong leadership; for opponents, academies fragment the system and reduce accountability.
The majority of Norfolk secondary schools are now academies, but the figure for primary schools is far below the national average.
The government expects any school put into special measures to become an academy, a policy Norfolk County Council is pursuing.
Over the past year there has been a growth in smaller, Norfolk-based academy chains.
There is also an emerging trend for local church schools, whatever their Ofsted rating, to join diocesan academy groups.
Academies are here to stay, but even their supporters agree that simply changing a school’s status is not, on its own, sufficient to guarantee a transformation.