Parents to have say on Norfolk academy

Thousands of people will be asked for their views during a make or break nine-month feasibility study into plans for Norfolk's first academy school, it was revealed last night.

Thousands of people will be asked for their views during a make or break nine-month feasibility study into plans for Norfolk's first academy school, it was revealed last night.

Cambridge Education has been appointed to manage the study, which will seek locals' views, investigate the potential cost and look into when the academy on the site of Heartsease High School in Norwich could be opened.

The organisation, which is managing academy projects across England, warned the plan for Heartsease was “not a foregone conclusion”.

Tony Smith, Cambridge Education's divisional manager for children's services, said: “To make an accurate assessment of cost, we have to know where the academy buildings would be and, in principle, what they would look like.

“But none of this means that the academy is a foregone conclusion.”

The project's sponsors are the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, and Christian businessman Graham Dacre.

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Mr Dacre said: “After all these months we are only now beginning a study to determine the feasibility of replacing the school with an academy.

“In the coming months Cambridge Education will be seeking the views of the community and all involved.”

The consultation is a compulsory part of the academy process. It culminates in a report to education secretary Alan Johnson, who will decide whether or not to approve the project.

Bishop Graham said: “We recognise the unique worth and value of every young person and are proposing an admission policy that ensures the school is open to all young people who live in Heartsease.”

Newsletters are being distributed about the project. Public consultation will run from March to July.

A project website has been set up at www.norwich-academy.org.