Judge's decision means Sinfin school academy plan moves step closer
THE city council's plans to retain control of a secondary school have ground to a halt – bringing the likelihood it will become an academy a step nearer.
The council lodged a judicial review after the Government stepped in to replace the governing body at Sinfin Community School with an interim executive board.
But a High Court judge has refused to allow the judicial review to go further and instead has found in favour of Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove.
Councillor Martin Rawson, cabinet member for children and young people, said the judge's decision was "disappointing".
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The Labour-led city council is opposed to academies, along with the major teaching unions, the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers.
Following a failed Ofsted inspection, Mr Gove used his parliamentary powers to install the new interim board at Sinfin school in November, ahead of it becoming an academy.
This was days before the city council was due to install its own interim board ahead of making the school part of a co-operative trust. The trust would consist of several schools and have links to businesses but the council would retain control over it.
Mr Rawson said: "This judgement leaves us nowhere to go with this aside of voicing our objections as part of the academy consultation.
"We are looking into the possibility of a public meeting being held to discuss the issue of whether Sinfin should become an academy, before the consultation begins at the end of January.
"We would also like to see Sinfin parents being given the chance to vote on whether the school should become an academy or not."
Meanwhile, the teaching unions are deciding whether to take further action, following a two-day strike at the end of the term in December.
Dave Wilkinson, NASUWT branch secretary, said: "We agree a public meeting should take place.
"There was a poorly-attended meeting for parents held in the final week of term but it is likely many people did not have the time or were unaware of it."
It is only the fifth time nationally that Mr Gove has intervened to order a governing body to be removed where a school is considered to be "failing".
If the interim executive board decides, at the end of the consultation, academy conversion should go ahead then the preferred sponsor of the academy is the Greenwood Dale FoundationTrust, based in Nottingham.
The trust, which has 13 academies in the East Midlands, would assume the day-to-day running of the school which would cease to be under local authority control.