Fears children could be left 'in limbo' after latest school revamp twist

Angel Road Junior School.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Angel Road Junior School.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The latest twist in a saga surrounding two city schools has prompted fears that children will be left in "a state of limbo".

Angel Road Junior School closed in June last year, with its pupils since taught either in spare classrooms of neighbouring St Clements Hill Primary or in mobile classrooms at Angel Road Infant School.

It came after ceiling tiles fell from the roof of the north Norwich junior school, with the Evolution Academy Trust judging the building to have deteriorated to the point it could no longer be used. 

Earlier this year, plans were lodged to expand the infant school site to allow it to accommodate all of the pupils across the two schools from September.

But after this application was withdrawn, questions are now being asked over what happens next - although the Trust insists merging the two sites remains the plan.

Lynsey Holzer, Evolution chief executive, said the plans had been withdrawn so that tweaks to the design can be made before it will be resubmitted to the city council.

She said: "We think there is very little risk of our plans not being achieved for September - but all of our contingency plans involve all children [being taught] at the Angel Road Infant School site.

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"New, amended plans will be live within the next month."

But councillors have questioned whether there is time for the plans to go ahead.

Matthew Packer, Labour candidate for Sewell. Pic: Labour Party.

Matthew Packer, Labour candidate for Sewell. Pic: Labour Party. - Credit: Labour Party

Matthew Packer, Labour city councillor for the Sewell ward, who is hoping to retain his seat in Thursday's election, said: "This leaves parents and children in an unacceptable state of limbo.

"I’ve seen nothing to convince me the old school building can’t be safely repaired and restored to continue its proud history of educating generations of local children. Neglected, it is deteriorating rapidly.

"The questionable plans for an alternative clearly can’t be delivered by September.

"It’s unfair on children’s already disrupted education and parents trying to juggle work and childcare arrangements."

He added: "The future of the old school is still unclear. I want it back as a school and that seems the most logical, practical, sensible and affordable solution.

"Meanwhile, it must be protected from deterioration. It is an important building that must be kept in good shape for whatever its future use."