Governors at Fakenham High School and College have announced their intention to consult with parents, students and staff on proposals to become an academy.

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The decision follows a meeting of the governors last week, at which there was unanimous support for taking the proposals forward for consultation.

The school leadership team and its governors have been carefully considering the issue over the past 18 months.

They are working in partnership with the recently-established Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN Group) federation – a partnership between City College Norwich, City Academy Norwich, Wayland Academy and Norfolk University Technical College.

A consultation process is now under way with staff, parents, students and other stakeholders on the proposal for Fakenham High School and College to become an academy under Norfolk Academies Trust, part of TEN Group.

Matthew Parr-Burman, head teacher at Fakenham High School and College, said: “Fakenham High School and College has many strengths, of which we are rightly proud, and is continuing to make improvements to provide the best possible education for our students and the community we serve.

“To help us to continue this we believe the time is right to look at converting to academy status. We will use this consultation to explain clearly to students, parents and staff what a move to academy status would mean for them and we will listen carefully to all views expressed.”

Ian Ponton, chairman of governors, added: “The governing body has examined very carefully the options before us and unanimously welcomes this collaboration with TEN Group and the opportunities it presents for both staff and students.

“We look forward to sharing these proposals with parents, staff and students through this consultation.”

Dick Palmer, group chief executive officer of TEN Group, said: “The TEN Group is a collection of like-minded institutions committed to excellence in education in Norfolk, working together to offer enhanced progression routes and improved outcomes for students in the county. “I am delighted that Fakenham High School and College has identified the TEN Group as its chosen partner for a potential conversion to academy status.”

Academies are publicly-funded schools which operate outside of local authority control.

Essentially they have more freedom than other state schools over their finances, the curriculum and teachers’ pay and conditions.

They are funded directly by the government rather than through the local authority.

Many academies have reported successes but the academies system has attracted criticism.

Critics have described it as a move towards privatisation of education through the back door.

Former leader of the Labour Party Neil Kinnock called the academies scheme as a “distortion of choice” because they allowed schools to choose pupils, not parents to choose schools.

A public meeting will be held on the proposals at Fakenham High School and College’s conference hall on December 10 between 7pm and 8.30pm.

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