Thorpe St Andrew School academy discussions could leave Norwich area without any non-academy high schools

Ian Clayton, principal at Thorpe St Andrew School. Photo: Bill Smith

Ian Clayton, principal at Thorpe St Andrew School. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

The Norwich area could be left without any high schools that are not academies after the biggest school in Norfolk revealed it was considering converting.

Thorpe St Andrew School. Photo: Steve Adams

Thorpe St Andrew School. Photo: Steve Adams

Thorpe St Andrew School, which received Ofsted's top 'outstanding' rating last year, was asked to consider becoming an academy so it could sponsor other schools by Tim Coulson, the regional schools commissioner who oversees local academies.

One of the school's associate governors is Norwich South MP Clive Lewis, who became patron of the national Anti-Academies Alliance in July. His spokesman said he would remain a governor.

Chair of governors Linda Steynor said the school would 'research the facts in light of local and national developments in education'.

Principal Ian Clayton said it was examining the options to take control of its future, and added: 'We don't want to be in a position three years from now where we are told [what to do].'


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He added: 'The big picture is there is a changing education landscape in Norfolk and nationally, and therefore we have to consider Thorpe's position within that. It's as simple as that. We don't know what the answer will be. That's why we are exploring it. We are not doing this because we are under pressure or at risk of failing. We are saying we have an ethos of community support. How best can we maintain and develop that? That's the important question. The only game in town at the moment is academies.'

Following the conversion of the Hewett and Sewell Park College last month, Sprowston High is the only other non-academy high school in the Norwich area, but is considering converting.

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