'Christian' academy plan moves closer
A first city academy school in Norfolk with backing from the Bishop of Norwich and Christian entrepreneur Graham Dacre has moved a step closer.
On Wednesday (March 1) Norfolk County Council's Children's services members backed calls for the ruling Cabinet to seek more details from the Department of Education about exactly how the proposed school would work.
The £20 million plan would create a new school on the site of Heartsease High. The proposals would see the Norwich Diocese and Mr Dacre invest £2 million - in return for influence over the schools admissions policy, curriculum and governing ethos, possibly Christian - while the Government would invest a further £20 million.
The existing Heartsease buildings would be knocked down and a 1400-pupil academy would be built in its place.
The Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said that an academy would “offer the possibility of significant investment in education in Norwich.”
Graham, founder of the Lind Automotive Group and the charitable Lind, said: “We have expressed an interest to the Government and discussions are ongoing with the governors at the school.
Heartsease headteacher Lindsay Knight: “We are trying to look at what to do in the best interests of the children and to raise standards and reflect the needs of the local community.” The school's governors recently voted by 13 to 3 to obtain more information on the proposal.
Opposition to the plan has come from Norwich North MP Ian Gibson who said:” This is an absolute mistake. I think schools should not be based on Christianity. There is no evidence that such schools are an improvement on the comprehensive system.”
A year-long feasibility study would be carried out on the plan before its moves forward.
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Pictured above are Heartsease High School pupils.