Inspiration Trust will take over Great Yarmouth High School when it becomes an academy

Great Yarmouth High School.Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth High School.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

After a period of unsettled leadership, Great Yarmouth's troubled High School is to become part of an academy group.

It will join the Inspiration Trust academy group in September.

The school, which is one of the oldest in Norfolk, has been run by a Norfolk County Council appointed interim executive board since January.

Now the board has told staff and parents that the school will join the trust - two years after unsuccessful talks were held between both parties.

After the Easter break, staff from the trust will work alongside temporary consultant headteacher John Robson, to ensure a smooth handover.

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Executive board chairman John Catton said: 'Since the board came into being, we have taken the view that the school needs long-term secure and consistent leadership, to ensure that all pupils find success and achieve highly.

'The board is unanimous in believing that we need an academy sponsor who has experience in improving high schools, has a strong local presence, and the strength of leadership to make the sometimes difficult changes required to improve a school.

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'The regional schools commissioner is of a similar view and he believes that the Inspiration Trust is the most appropriate sponsor for the long-term future of the school.'

For some time it appeared the school would be sponsored by the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) to improve the school and build upon its Christian ethos.

However, last week it was revealed that regional schools commissioner Tim Coulson turned down the bid from DNEAT.

After the Inspiration Trust held unsuccessful talks with Great Yarmouth High in 2014, they applied to set up another high school in the town, the Trafalgar College, which is due to open in September.

With Great Yarmouth High now set to be under Inspiration Trust control, the National Union of Teachers has expressed concern about parental choice in the town.

Scott Lyons, joint division secretary for Norfolk National Union of Teachers, said: 'The main concern I have is that the whole academy programme is about giving parental choice, but Inspiration Trust are to have Trafalgar College and Great Yarmouth High, is there an actual choice for parents in Great Yarmouth who do not want their child to go to a particular academy chain?'

Inspiration Trust chief executive Dame Rachel de Souza said her focus was on delivering the best education for children in the town.

She said: 'The Trust started in Great Yarmouth with our first school, and it is where our heart is.

'We have shown the difference we can make to high schools and we are passionate about ensuring children in Great Yarmouth get the very best education.

'Our plans for Trafalgar College have always been about raising standards across the whole town, so welcoming Great Yarmouth High School to our family fits absolutely with our vision.

'We remain totally committed to opening Trafalgar College in September. The town is growing, so there is a need for additional places and for both schools to succeed.

'We want to work with the community to ensure we develop Great Yarmouth High into a distinct but complementary school, so parents and pupils have a choice between two high-achieving academies in the town.'

Miss de Souza sits on the headteacher board that advises Tim Coulson, the regional schools commissioner who decides which organisations sponsor academies.

The Department for Education however have said that Miss De Souza does not sit in on any discussions regarding the Inspiration Trust.

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