Church academy trust’s bid to sponsor Great Yarmouth High rejected

Great Yarmouth High School.Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth High School.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

A church academy trust has expressed its 'extreme disappointment' after its application to sponsor Great Yarmouth High School was rejected.

The decision by regional schools commissioner [RSC] Tim Coulson to turn down the bid from the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) comes during a long period of unsettled leadership at the school, and follows the appointment of an interim executive board (IEB) to replace its governors.

DNEAT currently sponsors one high school and 25 primary schools, and its chief executive Paul Dunning said its application was turned because it did not have enough experience of secondary schools.

In a statement, DNEAT said it was invited by the former governing body and IEB to work with them to sponsor the school, with the knowledge of the regional schools commissioner and Norfolk County Council.

It said: 'The Diocese and DNEAT, in a spirit of cooperation, committed time and resources to support this process and were both extremely disappointed when the RSC took the sudden decision to look for an alternative sponsor.

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'DNEAT already has one successful secondary school in the trust and remains committed to creating a small group of like-minded secondary schools to work together to secure excellent outcomes for children and young people.'

The Department for Education said: 'Discussions remain ongoing with Great Yarmouth High School over a possible sponsor. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.'

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Two years ago, the Inspiration Trust held talks with Great Yarmouth High about sponsoring the school. After they proved unsuccessful, it applied to set up another high school in the town, the Trafalgar College, which is due to open in September.

Asked whether Inspiration was again talking about sponsoring Great Yarmouth High, a trust spokesman said: 'We talk to a lot of schools about potential for joining the trust. Some progress, and some do not.'

Of other trusts that sponsor high schools nearby, Ormiston said it had not considered sponsoring it. The Creative Education Trust did not give any information.

John Catton, chairman of Great Yarmouth High's IEB, called for a decision about a new sponsor to be made quickly, and added: 'The RSC is talking with the DfE and keeping us informed, while politely reminding us the decision is his. We await his decision.'

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