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National teachers’ union leader Christine Blower criticises “meek” Labour-led council over Cavell Primary academisation plans

PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 February 2014

Christine Blower, of the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

Christine Blower, of the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

A national teachers’ union leader has criticised Norfolk’s Labour-led administration for “meekly putting up with” a government drive for many of its schools to be converted to academies.

Christine Blower, national secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said the NUT had been more effective at supporting local authorities than they had been at supporting themselves.

She said she could not understand the Labour-led council’s position on the future of Cavell Primary School, which it is pushing to become an academy after Ofsted put it in special measures in May.

The school was yesterday formally taken out of special measures, but the interim executive board the county council appointed to replace its previous governors still wants it to become an academy.

Ms Blower said: “I can’t account for it. It seems like a very odd decision, particularly in the face of parents not wanting to do it.”

She added: “If you have a centralised agenda of taking all the schools under the direct control of Michael Gove’s office, you have no local democratic oversight, then things will go wrong. We don’t understand why local authorities are meekly putting up with this, even if they are Labour ones.”

Mick Castle, Labour cabinet member for schools, said: “I have always made it quite clear that I wanted the highest possible standards in schools, regardless of whether they are church, free, academy or local authority schools.

“All I know is that Cavell School was a failing school last year. We took out the governors and put in an interim executive board and the decision about an academy does not rest with us.”

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