Threatened school pleads with minister

GOVERNORS and senior staff battling a decision by education bosses to turn their school into an academy have taken their fight to parliament.

GOVERNORS and senior staff battling a decision by education bosses to turn their school into an academy have taken their fight to parliament.

Representatives from Holywells High School met with the government's minister for schools to challenge what they see as a hostile takeover by Suffolk County Council.

The meeting with Jim Knight at Westminster allowed the school to voice its opposition to being controlled by an independent sponsor and appeal for time to sustain recent improvements in performance.

Suffolk County Council is pressing forward with plans to turn the school into an academy - traditionally a method for improving failing schools - despite fears among staff and the school's governing body over relinquishing the right to determine staff pay and conditions to a private sponsor.


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Terry Duffell, acting headteacher at Holywells, said: “Jim Knight was very complimentary about our results and the progress the school has made and described achievements as very impressive.

“We emphasised our confidence that we could make sustained progress without the academy route and requested time to enable changes to come to fruition.

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“Mr Knight was very receptive and showed a keen interest in what we had to say.”

A decision on the future of Holywells is expected from the schools minister at the end of March. Until then Suffolk County Council will continue to defend its controversial proposals.

Rosalind Turner, the council's director for children and young people's services, said: “The minister has advised us that we should proceed with the selection of a sponsor so that future options can be considered.”

Should Holywells become an academy? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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