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Parents unconvinced about Thetford academy plan

PUBLISHED: 09:49 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 22:01 07 July 2010

THE transformation of two Thetford high schools into an academy has moved a step nearer - but councillors have said hearts and minds still need to be won to convince all parents the switch would be a good one.

THE transformation of two Thetford high schools into an academy has moved a step nearer - but councillors have said hearts and minds still need to be won to convince all parents the switch would be a good one.

Members of Norfolk County Council's cabinet last Tuesday agreed to publish statutory notices for the closure of Charles Burrell and Rosemary Musker in Thetford - to make way for a three-site £50m academy.

Of the 93 respondents to the Thetford plan, 57.4pc were in favour with 42.6pc against.

Mike Brindle, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Thetford West, said in general the Liberal Democrats would regard academies as bad - particularly as other examples had seen other nearby schools suffer - but said a good choice of sponsors meant he supported the Thetford changes.

The Thetford Academy would be sponsored by Wymondham College, Easton College, West Suffolk College and Norfolk County Council.

Breckland District Council, Thetford Town Council and other local schools would be partners.

Mr Brindle said: “We should accept it because Thetford schools are constantly criticised for the standard of results and a number of parents have lost faith in the schools.

“We are working hard in the town to bring those not onside, onside.”

Shelagh Hutson, cabinet member for children's services, said: “It was a bit disappointing to see the results of the consultation in Thetford compared to the others. It is a wonderful opportunity for the people of Thetford.”

Statutory closure notices will be published on Friday .

There would then be a six-week period for representations to be made to the council with a final decision at cabinet on June 14.

The academies would open in the existing school buildings in September 2010 with new buildings at Thetford funded via the government's national academies framework.

The new buildings are due to be completed by 2014.

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