Civil servant who will decide Hewett School's future gives initial view on academy consultation outcome
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 July 2015 | UPDATED: 07:53 27 July 2015
Archant Norfolk 2015
The civil servant who holds the fate of the Hewett School in his hands has said he will make a decision about whether it becomes an academy within a week or two.
The school was rated “inadequate” following an Ofsted inspection last year, and the government wants it to become an academy, sponsored by the Inspiration Trust.
The proposal has sparked a vocal campaign in opposition, and people who took part in a statutory consultation were hostile to it becoming an academy by a margin of 4:1.
The decision will be made by Tim Coulson, the regional schools commissioner, but he said he will consult ministers because of the level of controversy.
He has read the outcome of the consultation, and will read it again before making a decision.
Dr Coulson said: “It’s not clear to me in the consultation that there is a strong argument that says either Inspiration Trust would not be the organisation that would transform standards at the Hewett, or that there is an alternative answer in transforming standards at the Hewett.”
He added: “So far in the consultation I don’t see an argument that says the school would improve on its own. That seems to me very difficult to view. The school is clearly in a very difficult state. It is inadequate. It seems to me to fall in the category of the other schools that we would expect to become an academy.
“In terms of Inspiration Trust, there are some good sponsors in Norfolk. Inspiration Trust at the moment has the best track record, I would say.
“What I read is people don’t like Inspiration Trust for a number of other reasons. Some is their view of the influence they have in government, that they have friends, that it’s just about getting hold of an asset that they can realise some income from.
“For me, what we have to do is check whether there is any foundation to any of those views.”