A letter from Michael Gove was sent out this afternoon saying that he has made an academy order for Cavell to become an academy by 1st July.
We are massively disappointed, but sadly not surpised, that the Department for Education have ignored the clearly stated wishes of parents and staff, and the judgment of Ofsted that the school is “well placed to continue to improve”.
An academy order is not the end though, as there will now have to be a process of consultation. We call upon the DfE and Norfolk County Council to undertake this consultation honestly and – in contrast to all their actions to date – to listen to concerns arising from the process and act on them to halt this unnecessary and undemocratic, politically-motivated intervention.
We also contest the legal basis on which this decision has been made as the school was already out of special measures and thus no longer “eligible for intervention” when the Interim Executive Board, imposed after the school’s governors were sacked for opposing the academisation process, requested an academy order. This will be tested in court, and we are also appalled that the government is prepared to waste tens of thousands of pounds of public money on legal action to compel a school to accept its flawed and unproven ideology. The very fact of the “fast track process” mentioned in Gove’s letter is contemptuous of the ongoing legal challenge. It shows that they know they have no case and are trying to force this decision through as rapidly as possible. As with everything else in this sorry saga, it smacks of desperation, coming as the academy and free school programme is rapidly and publicly unravelling.
We must continue to subject this damaging and distracting agenda to further scrutiny and hold all those responsible to account for their actions. If Cavell can be railroaded like this then no school is safe. Governors can be sacked, puppet IEBs installed and Gove will continue to be told only what he wants to hear.