Costessey Academy set to get the go-ahead
Steve DownesA �20m plan to close Costessey High and replace it with a brand new academy looks certain to get the go-ahead next week.Public consultation has come to an end on the scheme for the Middleton Crescent school, with 90.Steve Downes
A �20m plan to close Costessey High and replace it with a brand new academy looks certain to get the go-ahead next week.
Public consultation has come to an end on the scheme for the Middleton Crescent school, with 90.4pc of the 118 respondents in favour.
Norfolk County Council's cabinet meets on April 6 and is expected to agree the closure of the school.
The project is being run by lead sponsor the Ormiston Trust. If it goes ahead, the academy will be led by the current principal of Barnfield West Academy in Luton Rachel de Souza.
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The Costessey plan is one of four that are set to get the nod at the meeting.
Cabinet is expected to agree the closure of Oriel High at Gorleston, Costessey High, Charles Burrell and Rosemary Musker at Thetford, and The Park High at King's Lynn - to be replaced by �20m academies at Gorleston, Costessey and King's Lynn and a three-site, �50m academy at Thetford.
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At Oriel, under lead sponsor Ormiston Trust, where the replacement academy is set to be run by current deputy principal of Barnfield West Academy in Luton Nicole McCartney, 80.7pc backed the plan out of 111 who gave a view.
The plan for The Park High, with lead sponsor the College of West Anglia, was supported by 92.2pc of 143 people who gave a view. Moves to recruit a principal are ongoing.
The only place where there is a split of opinion is at Thetford, where the plan is for the two high schools to close, making way for an eventual three-site, �50m academy at the schools and a Thetford Forum town centre site. It would be run by lead sponsor Wymondham College, with the deadline to recruit a principal recently extended.
As reported earlier this month, people linked with Charles Burrell are generally supportive, but those connected to Rosemary Musker are expressing 'significant reservations' about the integration of the two communities.
That is reflected in the consultation results, with 93 people (57.4pc) backing the revamp and 69 (42.6pc) opposing it.
The report to cabinet says: 'All the consultations have indicated that parents and the local communities are in support of the proposal to close the schools so that academies can be established.
'All these proposals have sponsors who can bring significant skills and expertise to bear on the development of the academies, raising standards of attainment and achievement. The cases for closure are strong in relation to raising standards.'
If cabinet agrees, statutory closure notices will be published on April 16. There would then be a six-week period for representations to be made to the council, with a final decision at cabinet on June 14.
All of the academies would open in the existing school buildings in September 2010, with new buildings at King's Lynn complete by 2014 and at Costessey by 2015 - with both �20m-plus projects funded from Building Schools for the Future cash.
The Gorleston and Thetford schemes will be funded via the government's national academies framework, with completion expected by 2014.
There are currently two Norfolk academies - the Open Academy at the former Heartsease High in north Norwich and City Academy Norwich at the former Earlham High on Earlham Road, Norwich.
t Do you have a view on the academies? Call Steve Downes on 01603 772495 or email email@example.com.