Sprowston High School academisation is still going ahead, parents told, after delay

Sprowston High School. Picture: Denise Bradley

Sprowston High School. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Parents have been told a planned academisation of a high school near Norwich has not been abandoned, after months of delays.

Sprowston High School was due to become an academy, sponsored by the Right for Success trust, last September, after winning government approval six months earlier.

Though the conversion date was pushed back to December, and then April, the school is still yet to join the trust, and a Department for Education list puts the school's opening date as an academy as September 1 this year.

But on a Norfolk County Council website showing the progress of academy conversions, the status of the move has changed to 'paused', prompting questions from parents over whether it had been shelved.

But the council and Sprowston High yesterday insisted this was not the case.

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In a letter to parents, Linda Bennett, chair of governors, said: 'I appreciate that it has been some time since my last communication but this is purely because the due diligence process is still continuing.

'We are a large school with some complex land and building matters that need to be resolved before we are able to become part of the Right for Success trust. All parties concerned need to ensure that everything is in place for a successful transition.'

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She said the school was working towards a conversion date of 'later this calendar year' once outstanding matters were resolved, and that Right for Success was still the 'correct trust' for the school.

Due diligence is the process multi-academy trusts take before acquiring a school, and includes scrutinising budgets and deficits, the student roll, the condition of buildings and facilities and legal documents.

When asked, the trust said they were not able to comment, though a spokesperson for the county council said before conversion could happen, 'all parties need to be satisfied' about terms covering property and finance.

'This routinely includes additional support and challenge from the local authority to ensure financial monitoring is sufficiently robust,' they said.

'In the case of Sprowston High we are still working towards conversion and this process of due diligence is happening but is not complete.'

• Do you have an education story? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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