Save Cavell campaigners take their fight against academy conversion to the Department for Education

Rachel Ward, of the Save Cavell campaign, handing a petition to a member of staff at the Department

Rachel Ward, of the Save Cavell campaign, handing a petition to a member of staff at the Department for Education - Credit: Archant

Campaigners fighting plans to turn a primary school into an academy have taken their case to the Department for Education, days after hearing a high court challenge had failed.

More than 2,000 people signed a petition opposing the academisation of Cavell Primary School in Norwich, and two parents this afternoon handed it to DfE staff, who said education secretary Michael Gove will see it.

Rachel Ward, of the Save Cavell campaign, said: 'I think the number of signatures shows that they can't just write it off as one or two people with a grudge against academies. It clearly goes much deeper than that, and it shows that it is the whole community affected by it.'

The school went into special measures last May, and Norfolk County Council replaced governors who wanted it to join other local schools in a co-operative trust with an interim executive board (IEB), which earlier this year decided it should instead become an academy.

The legal challenge argued the IEB had exceeded its powers, because the school came out of special measures after Ofsted inspectors returned to the school in January.

However, campaigners were told a QC refused to let the case go to a full hearing.

That decision leaves the campaigners with the petition, and a consultation organised by the IEB, as their main hopes for avoiding academy conversion on July 1.

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However, they have branded the consultation as 'North Korean' because it does not have a yes/no question on academisation.

David Lennard Jones, chairman of the IEB, said: 'An academy order has been made and this consultation gives staff and parents a clear opportunity to respond with their views and questions about becoming an academy. It includes space for staff and parents to include any comments they may have on the proposed move and any responses will be fully considered as we plan for the future of the school.

'We have taken legal advice on how consultation should be conducted and believe we are fully compliant with the requirements.'