Parents to be asked if Thorpe St Andrew School should become an academy
It's over to you – that is the message to parents at Norfolk's biggest high school as it confirmed it will launch a consultation on becoming an academy.
The decision by Thorpe St Andrew School's governors to look at forming a multi-academy trust, which would sponsor other schools, follows a meeting with the Department for Education earlier this week.
The school, which has Ofsted's top 'outstanding' rating, had widely been seen as the most prominent school in Norfolk to have resisted government pressure to convert, and its governors include anti-academy campaigner and Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.
Academies are state-funded schools that receive their funding directly from the government, rather than the local authority, and have more independence.
Principal Ian Clayton said the school was considering the issue so it could continue its success in a changing education landscape.
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Two thirds of Norfolk high schools are already academies, and others are considering it, and the prime minister said last month his ambition was 'every school an academy'.
Mr Clayton said the consultation would take place before Christmas, and emphasised the final decision was not pre-determined.
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He said: 'The view that I have is that we have a particular ethos and philosophy that's been successful. What we want to do it protect that and future-proof that for our community. What we have got to explore is the best way to do that.
'Standing as we are, becoming isolated with a local authority that is not there, might or might not be the best way to do that. A multi-academy trust may be the right way to do it. We have to ask the questions.'
In a statement, Linda Steynor, chair of governors, said: 'Following a further meeting with representatives from the Department for Education, the governors of Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form have decided to continue with their investigations into the possibility of forming a multi-academy trust.
'Before any final decision is taken, the governors will be seeking opportunities to consult with our community to see if such a move would be an advantage to the education of our students and provide further opportunities to attract, develop and support the very highest calibre of staff.'
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