Fakenham High School and College’s proposed move to academy status is now likely to go ahead, head teacher Matthew Parr-Burman has told the EDP.

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Mr Parr-Burman has met with school governors to discuss feedback received during a public consultation on the possible move, which ended on January 18.

He said: “It is fair to say the move to an academy is now more likely than it was before the start of the consultation.

“The consultation did not show up anything to say this would not be a good idea. There were some issues and concerns that people raised and I am confident that all of these were dealt with.”

Mr Parr-Burman said concerns raised by parents included how the standard of education would be affected if the high school and college would become an academy and if the recently-established Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN) Group was the right group to work with.

If Fakenham High School and College becomes an academy it would become part of TEN Group, a recently-established partnership between City College Norwich, City Academy Norwich, Wayland Academy at Watton and Norfolk University Technical College.

Mr Parr-Burman believes this would bring numerous benefits, including access to more resources, increased partnership working and freeing his time from administrative tasks to enable him to focus more on improving teaching and learning.

Mr Parr-Burman said teachers were assured their terms and conditions would not change.

He said a final decision on the move could be made in March and Fakenham High School and College could become an academy as early as April this year.

Mr Parr-Burman said: “The consultation was very thorough and there was certainly no overwhelming opposition to the move.

“I was very pleased to see so many people at the public meeting we had in January, which shows how much people care about this school and college.”

Mr Parr-Burman said current work is focusing on technical aspects of the move including legal and property issues.

Academies are publicly-funded schools that operate outside local authority control. Essentially they have more freedom than other state schools over their finances, curriculum, and staff pay and conditions. They are funded directly by the government, rather than the local authority, and are subject to Ofsted inspections, like other schools.

Critics of academies say they are a move to the privatisation of education through the back door. The Anti Academies Alliance argues that there is no evidence to show that academies are improving the standard of education. The group says that academies enable schools to choose students rather than students choose schools and that sponsors of academies can gain too much control over them.

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