“Whose school? Our school!” - hundreds march against plans to make the Hewett School an Inspiration Trust academy
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of protesters have marched through Norwich city centre to show their opposition to a prominent high school becoming an academy.
The Hewett School was put in special measures in November following a damning Ofsted report, and two weeks ago the government said it wanted it to become an academy, sponsored by the Inspiration Trust.
Norfolk County Council, which instead wants to see the Hewett become part of a 'learning village', has threatened a High Court challenge to the plans.
Up to 350 people, including pupils and parents of the Hewett, marched from City Hall to Chapelfield Gardens on this lunchtime, chanting 'Whose school? Our school!' and 'Whose community? Out community!'.
They also carried placards saying 'Hewett belongs to Norwich', 'Hands off Hewett' and 'Je suis Hewett'.
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Joanna Smith, who sent her two children across the city to attend the Hewett, said: 'I feel that I want my children at a local authority school. I don't want them at an academy. It's an interesting, quirky school. It's not exam factory. My children have succeeded very well at that school'
Asked about its disappointing exam results in recent years, she said: 'The new headteacher has come in and made an awful lot of improvements already. Why do you want to change that?'
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Ruby French, 16, who is in the sixth form, said: 'When I chose to go to a sixth form I chose not to go to an academy, but now it seems we are going to be forced to go to one against our choice.
'Nobody really supports it at all. Everyone is angry and concerned about what will happen in September.'
The Inspiration Trust has said it cannot comment until education secretary Nicky Morgan has made a decision on the school's future.
However, in a statement when its proposed role was first revealed, it said: 'Our vision is for the Hewett School to be rated outstanding as quickly as possible. The same principle applied to Thetford Academy which we transformed from special measures to good with outstanding leadership in little over a year.'
The council's Children's Services Committee will hold an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to decide whether to apply for a judicial review of the government's actions.
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