Revealed: Norfolk schools applying for academy status
Steve DownesNo Norwich-area schools have yet put themselves forward to join the new wave of academies, the Evening News can reveal today.Steve Downes
No Norwich-area schools have yet put themselves forward to join the new wave of academies, the Evening News can reveal today.
Education secretary Michael Gove announced last month that all secondary, primary and special schools could apply for the status - with schools rated outstanding in their last Ofsted inspection put on a fast-track route.
The Department for Education (DfE) had refused to name the schools that expressed an interest - saying only that almost 1,800 had, including 900 outstanding schools.
Now the DfE has published a list of every school, including 15 in Norfolk (five outstanding, 10 others), 13 in Cambridgeshire (eight and five) and 25 in Suffolk (15 and 10). But there are none in Norwich.
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It is not yet known how many of the schools are hoping to open as academies in September this year, or whether they are simply trying to find out more.
Reepham High School and College head teacher Chris Hassell said it would have been 'silly not to consider it'. The school has twice been rated outstanding.
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He said there were 'no plans' to become an academy in September, and added: 'We soon realised that the only way to get more information about what it means was to register our interest.'
The local schools include:
Outstanding - Martham Primary; Alderman Swindell Infant, Great Yarmouth; Sheringham Primary; Wymondham College; Reepham High
Others - Antingham and Southrepps Primary; Beeston Primary; Dereham Infant and Nursery; Flegg High, Martham; St Andrew's Primary, North Pickenham; Overstrand, The Belfry Primary; Redcastle Furze Primary, Thetford; Sheringham High; St Mary's Junior, Long Stratton; Thompson Primary
There are currently two Norfolk academies - Open Academy at the former Heartsease High in Norwich and City Academy Norwich at the former Earlham High.
Four more are expected to open in September - Ormiston Victory Academy at Costessey High, Ormiston Venture Academy at Oriel High, Gorleston, One at The Park High, King's Lynn, and one in the buildings of Charles Burrell and Rosemary Musker high schools, Thetford.
The government said schools wishing to register an interest had until June 30 to do so if they wanted to open as an academy in time for the new academic year in September.
Lord Hill, junior schools minister, said: 'Every school expressing an interest will have a named contact in the department, who can answer their questions and guide them through the process.
'At the same time, we expect schools to keep their governors, staff and parents updated on progress. This is a genuinely permissive policy, there is no pressure for any school to convert by September, and they can do so at any time, when they feel they are ready.
'We want schools to decide what's best for them, not politicians or bureaucrats.'
To see the names of every school, visit www.education.gov.uk/academies/schools-registering-interest.