Battle over future of Norwich primary school could head for the courts
10:00 06 March 2014
The battle over the future of Cavell Primary School could move towards the courts after opponents to it becoming an academy started legal proceedings.
The school was put into special measures last May after Ofsted inspectors said it was “inadequate”.
Cavell’s governing body wanted it to join nearby schools in the embryonic Norwich Co-operative Learning Trust, rather than become an academy as Norfolk County Council preferred, and was supported by a vocal parents’ campaign group.
The council later replaced the governors with an interim executive board (IEB), which last month decided the school should become a sponsored academy under the Right to Success group.
However, Ofsted returned to the school for a full inspection on January 29 and took the school out of special measures, giving it an improved rating of “requires improvement”.
Although no-one from the anti-academy campaign was willing to speak about the legal challenge, it is understood lawyers for the Norwich Co-operative Learning Trust have written to the council and IEB threatening a judicial review of the decision to convert to an academy.
It is believed they are arguing that, because the school is no longer in the special measures that originally sparked the appointment of the interim governors, those governors no longer have the legal power to apply for the school to become an academy.
In January a judge halted the conversion of Warren Comprehensive School in London into an academy for consultations on possible alternatives.
David Lennard Jones, chairman of Cavell Primary’s interim executive board, said: “The IEB is delighted that Cavell Primary School and Nursery has improved enough for the inspector to judge that it can come out of special measures. The school still requires improvement and the IEB has had the task of choosing the best option for taking the school forward. It concluded the best option was for the school to become an academy alongside a school judged to be outstanding, so there is good governance, best practice can be shared and children get the best possible opportunities to learn and achieve.’’
Norfolk County Council said its legal team was considering the points raised and said its support for Cavell Primary becoming an academy remained unchanged.
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