Interim governors of Cavell Primary finally say if they will consult parents about joining academy chain

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

Monday, May 19, 2014
1:48 PM

The interim governors of a primary school at the centre of a row about becoming an academy have ended weeks of uncertainty about whether they will consult parents over the school’s future.

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Cavell Primary School in Norwich was put in special measures after receiving a damning Ofsted report last May.

The school’s governors had wanted Cavell to join the new Norwich Co-operative Learning Trust, formed with a number of nearby schools, but Norfolk County Council replaced them with an interim executive board (IEB).

After discussions with parents late last year, the IEB decided the school should convert to an academy, and named the Right for Success Trust, which is based at Eaton Hall school, as the prospective sponsor.

However, Cavell came out of special measures following a re-inspection in January, and the learning trust has mounted a legal challenge to the academy conversation, arguing the school was no longer eligible for intervention and the IEB had exceeded its authority. Since then, anti-academy campaigners have been pressing the IEB to carry out a consultation over the choice of Right for Success, arguing this was a legal obligation, despite education secretary Michael Gove approving an order which would make the school an academy on July 1.

For weeks, members of the IEB said they would discuss whether to consult at a meeting on May 1, but parents said that, two weeks on, they have still not been told the outcome.

Now, in a statement to the Evening News, David Lennard Jones, chairman of the IEB, said: “The IEB discussed whether or not to hold further consultation about becoming an academy with Right for Success at its last meeting.

“It agreed to plan for further consultation.” He added that the board was aware of the legal challenge being brought by the co-operative trust, and was considering its implications.

It is believed the legal challenge is complicating the issue of when and how the consultation will be carried out.

Rachel Ward, a leader of the Save Cavell campaign, said: “It is good news that they are going to consult us, but it is their legal obligation to do so and it would be nice if they would keep parents informed about what is going on, rather than us having to find out through the press.”

What is the best option for Cavell Primary School? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

7 comments

  • Academies do not educate children to any higher standard then LA schools. How do academies 'turn around' schools in poor areas so fast? By shutting kids indoors for hours on end practicing test after test, by repeating the same syllabus over and over until they pass said tests...The resulting improved data makes the academy chain look marvellous, but it has no positive impact on my child. They gain little useful knowledge or skills, they just learn how to pass tests. For example, the practice of starting year 9 students on an extended 3 year GCSE course, this is effectively robbing them of a year of education so that they can get the results, do they know any more? No, they actually know less, but goodness doesn't the data look great.

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    happilyeverafter

    Monday, May 19, 2014

  • Didn't the Coalition government say education policy was all about parental choice?

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    Peter Watson

    Monday, May 19, 2014

  • Cooperative trust improves education where and who produces this "evidence"Facts by supplied state Academies in areas of special measures such as Cavell show tremendous academic improvements away from interference by local authorities and political socialist ideology and dogma.That why parents are queuing to join them,but not it seems in low education standard Norwich.i'm afraid.

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    PaulH

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

  • "After discussions with parents late last year, the IEB decided that the school should convert to an Academy." This part is somewhat misleading as it would indicate that the IEB made it's decision based on these discussions &, so, with the will of the parents. However this is, of course, far from the truth - they met with parents who made it clear that they had been consulted on, agreed to & so wanted the school to become part of the Co-operative Trust, NOT Academisation. This was ignored & then AFTER the school came out of Special Measures, the IEB put forward to the DfE their decision to convert the school to an Academy. Once again, the IEB's communication skills as led by David Lennard Jones are poor at best - choosing to advise parents of their "decision" to consult (no decision to make - it's a legal requirement under Academies Act 2010) via the media rather than letters to parents which he promised me via email 2 weeks ago! And he still hasn't informed parents that his decision, as Chair of the IEB, that the whole process is now subject to Legal Challenge. I, for one, am grateful that my local newspaper cares more about keeping everyone involved informed than David Lennard Jones does. Consultation or not, this is far from over.

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    Tina B

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

  • Who are "these people", PaulH? The parents or the IEB? Your comment's ambiguous, but the school is a good one, improving fast, and the parents' preferred option of a cooperative trust has plenty of evidence to show that it improves education. In contrast, sponsored primary academies do worse than comparable community schools. So while I'm not sure the IEB have socialist lifestyles, whatever they would look like, it's clear that they don't want the best for the children.

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    djw

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

  • It's taken them this long to commit to a consultation which isn't just their legal obligation, but something they themselves repeatedly promised parents. Of course, there's no promise that they'll take any notice of the results - the Warren School shows how it normally goes, with 85pc opposition being totally ignored because it's the wrong answer. Given the IEB's actions so far, and where the school is now, anything less than a full and binding ballot of parents will be just an empty gesture.

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    djw

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

  • These people are more concerned with their socialist life style then the education of pupils to a higher standard

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    PaulH

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

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

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