Public meeting hears legal challenge to the forced academisation of Cavell Primary in Norwich will be submitted tomorrow

Parent David Ward speaks at a public meeting about the future of Cavell Primary School, May 1, 2014 Parent David Ward speaks at a public meeting about the future of Cavell Primary School, May 1, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014
8:26 PM

A formal legal challenge which campaigners say could become a national test case about the forced academisation of schools will be submitted tomorrow.

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Public meeting about the future of Cavell Primary School, May 1, 2014Public meeting about the future of Cavell Primary School, May 1, 2014

A public meeting organised by campaigners who want to stop Cavell Primary School in Norwich being turned into an academy tonight heard that £10-12,000 had been raised to cover the legal costs of the challenge.

Rob Anthony, the former chair of governors at the school, told about 75 people at the meeting at the Old Lakenham Community Centre the government would be unable to convert the school to an academy on July 1, as planned, if legal proceedings were still active at the time.

The school was put in special measures last year after Ofsted deemed it “inadequate”, and Norfolk County Council replaced the governors, who wanted it to join the embryonic Norwich Co-operative Learning Trust, with an interim executive board (IEB), which in decided it should instead become an academy.

In the meantime, the school had moved out of special measures after a fresh Ofsted inspection moved it up to the “requires improvement” category.

Public meeting about the future of Cavell Primary School, May 1, 2014Public meeting about the future of Cavell Primary School, May 1, 2014

Mr Anthony said: “This is the first time an IEB has tried to force a school to become an academy when it’s not in special measures.

“If they get away with it with Cavell, there’s a risk they will get away with it at hundreds of schools, and we have got to say ‘no’.”

In a document, the IEB has said leaving the school as it is would not deliver the “sustained improvement in teaching and learning and in

leadership and governance” required, and said there were doubts about the ability of the co-operative trust to support leadership and governance.

It said the prospective academy sponsor, the Right for Success Academy Trust, is “an outstanding local school that has expressed a commitment to working for the benefit of children”.

Save Cavell campaigner David Ward, who has two sons at the school, told the meeting: “We can make a fuss, we can make a noise. We can make people know it’s a very important test, not just here but nationally.”

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