Inspiration Trust rejects call to “back down and step away” from Hewett School

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

A controversial academy chain has rejected calls to withdraw from plans to take over a struggling high school, after a consultation showed strong public opposition.

More than 350 people completed a questionnaire about the future of the Hewett School, which the Department for Education (DfE) wants to become an academy, sponsored by the Inspiration Trust (IT).

A report yesterday concluded that, of those who took part, 'the great majority was opposed to the Hewett School being converted into an academy and hostile to Inspiration Trust as the preferred sponsor'.

It said: 'In the questionnaire overall, the arguments against academisation ran around 4:1, with higher proportions of opposition among parents and members of the local community.'

Arguments given in favour included 'the need to make swift change to a failing school', and parents with children at IT schools commenting on how they had progressed.

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Lynsey White, a leader of the anti-academy campaign, said: 'We want IT to back down and step away from our school. They can't take over our school when we are so hostile to them. They should say 'we asked the people of Norwich what they wanted, and the people of Norwich said no', so we want them to step away.'

An IT spokesman said: 'Deciding on the proposed changes to the Hewett School is not about a popularity contest or about making symbolic gestures - it is making sure the children of Norwich get the best possible start in life.'

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He added: 'Changes are needed to restore the Hewett to the full, bustling, and great place it once was, and we believe the Inspiration Trust has an important part to play in that transformation.'

The DfE said it was considering the findings.

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