Inspiration Trust will not back out of Hewett academy plans despite consultation results

Public meeting about the Hewett School becoming an academy. Left to right, Ian Burchett from Inspira

Public meeting about the Hewett School becoming an academy. Left to right, Ian Burchett from Inspiration Trust and Tom Leverage, the incoming head of Hewett School and Paul Mitchell, chairman of Hewett School Interim Executive Board.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The Inspiration Trust said it will not pull out of plans to sponsor the Hewett School, despite an official consultation finding 'a great majority' of participants were against academy conversion and hostile to its proposed role.

The results of the one-month consultation about the future of the troubled high school were released this morning.

The report, written by independent consultants HaslamDodd, found: 'Of those participating in the consultation, the great majority was opposed to the Hewett School being converted into an academy and hostile to Inspiration Trust as the preferred sponsor.'

In a statement, an Inspiration Trust 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.

'It is disappointing that many of the consultation responses have repeated inaccurate claims about the Inspiration Trust.

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'We clearly need to do more to put across the great potential the charity has to get the Hewett School back on its feet, a turnaround of the sort already underway at our other schools in Great Yarmouth, Norwich, Thetford and Lowestoft.

'We hope the Secretary of State will reflect on our record in those schools and weigh that against the passionately made but often inaccurate statements of a small number of parents.

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'Only 105 of the 1200 parents with children at the Hewett responded. We admire and share their affection for the school but we also note there are 870 empty places at the school, reflecting the parents and students who have decided the Hewett is no longer for them.

'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.'

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