Consultation shows opposition to Sprowston academy conversion

Sprowston Community High School. Photo: Steve Adams

Sprowston Community High School. Photo: Steve Adams

A consultation on proposals for a high school to become an academy has revealed opposition among parents and staff.

Sprowston High School said last June it was considering becoming an academy sponsored by Right for Success, which is based at Eaton Hall Specialist Academy.

Together with Thorpe St Andrew School, which last week said it was applying to become an academy, it is the last non-academy high school in the greater Norwich area.

The school's leaders, governors and proposed sponsor held meetings with parents and the local community in the summer and autumn terms, and the consultation results have now been published.

A total of 98 questionnaires were returned, representing 4.5pc of the parental body, and 10.5pc of the staff members. In a letter, chair of governors Linda Bennett said the response rate was 'lower than expected given the attendance at the various meetings during the consultation period'.

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Overall, 49pc of respondents expressed opposition to it becoming a Right for Success academy, compared to 43pc who signalled support.

A majority of parents said they were against conversion, with opposition running at 54pc to 41pc. Among staff, 43pc were against, and 33pc were in support.

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A summary of reasons given in support of becoming an academy included 'taking control of the decision rather than being forced down a route', while those against included Right for Success's lack of experience of high schools. Overall, 50pc said they supported Right for Success's proposed vision for the school, while 43pc said they did not.

Headteacher Andrew John said: 'We are still considering the information received and the answers to the questions that were raised.

'Governors will be meeting fairly soon to make a final decision. A date has not yet been agreed.'

Sprowston parent Jess Mayes said: 'My thoughts remain the same about Right for Success being unsuitable.

'It's disappointing so few responded but I feel that the conversion has been presented as a certainty from the off [which] probably played a part. If the consultation is going to be used as representative of opinion, I guess it doesn't matter how many replied, as it shows the majority feel it's the wrong decision.'

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