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Norwich parents reassured over City Academy

PUBLISHED: 06:00 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:13 02 July 2010

Dick Palmer, chairman of the governors at City Academy Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith.

Dick Palmer, chairman of the governors at City Academy Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith.

Steve Downes

Parents were promised today that a shake-up which will give Norwich City Council greater responsibilites would make "no material difference" to the running of City Academy Norwich.

Parents were promised today that a shake-up which will give Norwich City Council greater responsibilites would make "no material difference" to the running of City Academy Norwich.

There were suggestions earlier this week that unitary status for Norwich would see Norfolk County Council's co-sponsorship of the academy automatically transfer to the city council.

The possibility prompted fears of a fall out between the academy and City Hall because of concerns about the council's "abrasive attitude" to academies in the past.

Now Dick Palmer, principal of lead sponsor City College Norwich and chairman of the governors at City Academy Norwich, has moved to reassure parents, staff and students.

He said: "We don't have any issue with Norwich City Council. Our working relationship with them is fine. The academy is an independent school and will continue to be that, still run by a trust, if Norwich gets unitary status. The unitary change doesn't have any impact."

City Academy is sponsored by City College, alongside co-sponsors the county council and the University of East Anglia.

Mr Palmer said: "The sponsorship is for the academy to decide, not anyone else. The trust was set up by the existing sponsors. If we did want to make a change we would have to put it to the government.

"There will be absolutely no difference, apart from that under the articles of the trust the local authority does nominate a governor. If the city council was the local authority, it would be able to nominate one governor. That's the only material change."

Norwich's second academy - following the Open Academy at the former Heartsease High on Marryat Road - opened in the buildings of the former Earlham High School in September 2009.

It is set to move into a £20m, purpose-built complex on the same site in September 2012.

Ü Do you have an academy story? Call Steve Downes on 01603 772495 or email steve.downes@archant.co.uk

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