Firm which ran Hewett consultation also gave PR advice to Inspiration Trust

Protest march through Norwich against Hewett School becoming an academy.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Protest march through Norwich against Hewett School becoming an academy.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Campaigners who fought government plans for the Hewett School to become an Inspiration Trust academy have asked MPs to look at emails about the public consultation.

Jonathan Haslam, right, of HaslamDodd Communications, addresses the first consultation meeting at th

Jonathan Haslam, right, of HaslamDodd Communications, addresses the first consultation meeting at the Hewett to discuss whether it should become an academy. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

It follows the release of correspondence showing the company that ran the consultation also gave public relations advice to the trust about how to promote its cause – including how to deal with the EDP.

The Hewett's interim governors, appointed by the government, had told parents they appointed HaslamDodd Communications 'to ensure that the consultation process is impartial', but campaigners have now questioned whether the company had a conflict of interests.

Jonathan Haslam, of HaslamDodd, dismissed the concerns, and said 'all views expressed [during the consultation] were documented faithfully'.

Its report concluded 'the great majority was opposed to the Hewett School being converted into an academy and hostile to Inspiration Trust as the preferred sponsor'.

The new signs for the Hewett Academy at the school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The new signs for the Hewett Academy at the school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015


You may also want to watch:


Nevertheless, the school became the Hewett Academy, sponsored by the Inspiration Trust, last month.

The correspondence, released to anti-academy campaigner Lynsey White and first reported in the Guardian, included an email from Mr Haslam to Inspiration chief executive Dame Rachel de Souza, saying the consultation should be an opportunity to 'share and celebrate success, extend the range of supporters and ambassadors and open up/diversify its profile'.

Most Read

Ms White said: 'We are taking it further. It has been passed to the Public Accounts Committee, because we think it deserves attention.'

Mr Haslam said: 'I believe any objective reading of our 95-page report on the consultation can only lead to the conclusion that it is scrupulously impartial.'

He added: 'No one could be in any doubt about the views of the majority of respondents about the academisation proposal or their views of Inspiration Trust. We are proud to have completed a full and rigorous consultation that was designed to encourage the widest possible participation and which will stand the test of time.'

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter