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Public meeting called to discuss controversial plans to turn Cavell Primary into an academy

PUBLISHED: 06:30 23 April 2014

Parents Mark Sayer, and Rachel Ward, with the petition parents have signed against the plans to turn Cavell Primary School into an academy. Picture: Denise Bradley

Parents Mark Sayer, and Rachel Ward, with the petition parents have signed against the plans to turn Cavell Primary School into an academy. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright: Archant 2014

Campaigners fighting moves to turn a primary school into an academy will hold a public meeting to update parents on a legal challenge to the process.

Cavell Primary School, in Duckett Close, Norwich, was put into special measures last May after Ofsted inspectors judged it “inadequate”.

The school’s governors favoured the school becoming a founding member of the new Norwich Co-operative Learning Trust.

However, Norfolk County Council replaced the governing body with an interim executive board (IEB), which in February recommended the school become an academy within the Right for Success academy trust, based at the Eaton Hall Specialist Academy.

It recommended the school also become a partner school within the co-operative trust, rather than a full member of the trust itself.

In the meantime, the school had come out of special measures after a follow-up Ofsted inspection in January moved it into the higher “requires improvement” category.

The Norwich Co-operative Learning Trust has launched a legal challenge over the decision to become an academy, claiming that because the school was no longer in special measures, it was no longer eligible for intervention.

Secretary of state for education Michael Gove has signed the academy order, with the school due to convert to its new status on July 1, 2014.

Rob Anthony, previous chairman of Cavell’s governors and current chairman of the Co-operative Learning Trust, said now Mr Gove has signed the order, he had to be added to the legal proceedings.

Rachel Ward, of the Save Cavell Campaign, said the IEB had a legal duty to consult with parents about the school becoming an academy.

The IEB talked parents and members of the community when it was initially deciding whether Cavell should become an academy, join the co-operative trust, or remain as it was.

Ms Ward said she had asked members of the IEB whether that counted as the formal consultation on the academy moves, or whether they would hold a consultation on the more recent proposal.

However, she said the IEB said they would discuss this issue at an IEB meeting due to be held on May 1.

Speaking about the public meeting, she said: “We want to inform people about what’s going on and where we are with the legal challenge because the IEB is controlling all the information that comes out of the school.

“Everything that comes out is very positive about the academy process, but it’s only half the story so we want to have an opportunity to put the rest of the story to parents and the wider community.”

David Lennard Jones, chairman of the IEB, did not respond to requests for comments.

The public meeting will be held on Thursday, May 1, from 6.30-7.30pm at the Old Lakenham Community Centre, Harwood Road, Norwich.

What do you think should happen to Cavell Primary School next? Email education correspondent

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