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Public backs Norwich Future Education campaign

The public has shown support for the Evening News Future Education campaign. Picture: James Bass

The public has shown support for the Evening News Future Education campaign. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

People from across the county and even abroad have shown their support for the Evening News campaign to secure the long-term existence of a school and social inclusion charity.

Two Norwich MPs and councillors have got behind the campaign and hundreds have spoken out about the importance of the Future Education and Future Projects after we launched the campaign to “Save our Future” on Wednesday.

Last week it emerged that Norfolk County Council had not awarded a contract to the school Future Education. They withdrew an academic contract for funding reasons and awarded a vocational contract to an alternative provider.

Although the council said they will see through the current students who are half way through GCSEs and BTECs by spot purchasing places, Future said they rely on the contract for funding for all the charity’s projects and without reinstating the academic contract it would leave staff with an uncertain future.

The Evening News has asked for two years’ funding so the charity can find a long-term alternative, such as becoming a free school.

Norfolk County Council and Future had talks yesterday to explore their options, which they both said had been productive.

Speaking after yesterday’s meeting, Tom Savory, assistant director of Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “We are pleased that this meeting has been able to go ahead and have had positive early discussions about the way forward. The priority for all of us is what is best for Norfolk’s young people. We want to work together and we are planning to meet again on Tuesday to talk about how we can proceed.

“We hope to be able to tell young people and their parents more after Tuesday and will update them about arrangements for September as soon as we possibly can.”

Support for the project has grown since the funding crisis emerged. To date 676 people “Like” the campaign on Facebook and many more have pledged their support on Twitter.

Councillor Stephen Little said: “Having visited Future Education last year and been hugely impressed by what they do, I found the threat to its funding hard to believe.

“Something is not right when a decision process fails to recognise the qualities of a school which not only provides excellent education in often the most demanding of circumstances, but is able to draw on unrivalled local knowledge gained from a long history of working in the area.

“Everyone who is aware of the situation knows how lucky we are to benefit from such an innovative, respected and committed organisation which excels in the support it gives to its pupils, their families and the wider community.”

Chloe Smith wrote to cabinet member for children services Alison Thomas. She said: “I support the intention of the council to secure the best value for money to best help some of the most disadvantaged young people in the city. However, if the school’s long term future will not rely on council funding, it seems it could benefit from more time to make appropriate planning decisions.”

Tell us why you think Future Education should be saved. Email annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk, like the Future Education Facebook page or #saveourfuture.

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