Graphic: Two Norwich high schools face the threat of closure

Hewett School sign and entrance on Hall Road. Picture: Denise Bradley

Hewett School sign and entrance on Hall Road. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Two Norwich high schools which were last week hit by damning inspection reports could face closure or being taken over by groups with no previous connections to Norfolk.

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Sewell Park College and the Hewett School were put into special measures after Ofsted inspectors judged them 'inadequate'.

The government expects schools in this position to become sponsored academies – state-funded schools that are taken over by an outside organisation.

However, both schools have large numbers of unfilled places, and face uncertainty over whether they will be able to recruit enough pupils to secure their future.

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Asked whether the schools might close, rather than convert, Gordon Boyd, assistant director of children's services at Norfolk County Council, said: 'I think we are unclear about that at the moment.'

Norfolk's most prominent home-grown academy chains are not believed to be interested in taking over the two schools, and, if they do become academies, they could join groups from outside the county.

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Mr Boyd said: 'We are always keen to see new ideas and new expertise come into Norfolk. One of the ways of doing that is to bring into Norfolk sponsors who are prepared to have a serious presence here who might have started elsewhere.'

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