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”.
A new survey out by YouGov, March 2015, shows the opinion of people about the preferred level of the private sector in running public services. The highest level of support for the public sector is in health, but education comes joint second on 62%, with a further 29% saying whichever organisation can raise standards, but the lowest response on the question of the privatisation of the sector is in education with only 3%.
Campaigners in Lewisham against the conversion of four secondary schools to academy status, have called a march and protest on March 21st and are considering further strike action.
See video of latest protest http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/11842753.VIDEO__Students_join_school_staff_in_anti_academy_strike_action/
Ofsted is being used as a “political tool” by ministers, Labour’s education spokesman claimed last night, as he accused the watchdog of forcing inspectors to fail schools in order to trigger mandatory conversion to academy status.
See TES article: https://news.tes.co.uk/b/news/2015/03/12/hunt-ofsted-is-being-used-as-a-39-political-tool-39.aspx
The last community secondary in Norwich is fighting the prospect of becoming an academy with the Inspiration Trust, headed by Tory donor Lord Agnew, and recently linked to stories about Ofsted tip offs, Vera Wang tea sets and GCSE results.
Parents have called a protest on Saturday 14th March.
See news stories: http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/education/hewett_campaigners_announce_protest_march_against_academy_conversion_1_3989589