Millionaire philanthropist Graham Dacre quits as sponsor of Norfolk’s first academy, the Open Academy in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 09:06 18 November 2013 | UPDATED: 09:06 18 November 2013

Graham Dacre co-sponsored the first academy school in Norfolk. Picture: Denise Bradley

Graham Dacre co-sponsored the first academy school in Norfolk. Picture: Denise Bradley


The multi-millionaire philanthropist who co-sponsored Norfolk’s first academy with the Bishop of Norwich has resigned from his positions at the school.

Open Academy in Norwich.Open Academy in Norwich.

Graham Dacre pioneered the academy movement in the county when he helped found the Open Academy in Salhouse Road, Norwich, which opened in September 2008, replacing Heartsease High School.

Academies are schools which are removed from the sphere of the local education authority, and have more freedom over the curriculum, staffing and the length of schools days and holidays.

In a letter, chair of governors Fred Corbett said the businessman, who was made a CBE this year, had decided to step down so the school could join the recently-formed Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust.

Mr Corbett wrote: “Mr Dacre proposed at the last trust meeting in the summer that he would step aside as a sponsor and trustee and that the academy should be run by a new trust established around the energy and expertise the Bishop of Norwich can harness through the Norwich Diocese.

“Therefore, we have sought agreement from the secretary of state to proceed with this and for the new sponsorship to be arranged through The Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust.”

He said the school would keep its name, religious character, uniform and the conditions of service of staff, and the senior leadership team, including principal Jon Platten, would remain.

The school is now holding a consultation about the proposed change of status.

Ofsted inspectors gave the school notice to improve in November 2010, said it was satisfactory in January 2012, and controversially said it “requires improvement” following its most recent inspection in June, despite the original draft of the report praising it as “good”.

This summer saw the school fall below the government’s national floor target of at least 40pc of students achieving at least five GCSEs, including English and maths, at grade C or above.

A consultation drop in session will be held at the school from 2-6pm on Wednesday, November 20.

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