High court blocks plans to turn Chadwell Heath school into academy

Sarah Jane Scrace, and other staff outside Warren School in Whalebone Lane North, opposing academy status

Sarah Jane Scrace, and other staff outside Warren School in Whalebone Lane North, opposing academy status - Credit: Archant

Plans to force a school in Chadwell Heath into becoming an academy have been blocked by a high court decision to delay the change in status.

The government had hoped to set up an Interim Executive Board (IEB) to oversea the conversion of The Warren School in Whalebone Lane into an academy.

However, a joint application by the school’s governing body and the council has been granted by the court, meaning the plans will be postponed until at least January 17.

The court will rule on the school’s request for a judicial review of the plans on Wednesday.

The Warren School received a letter from education secretary Michael Gove last week saying the school was failing and would be taken out of council hands and turned into an academy.

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The school is concerned that the change will have a negative impact on children’s education, and hopes its work with Robert Clack School to improve standards is allowed to continue instead.

Cllr John White, cabinet member for children services, welcomed the decision of the Judge.

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He said: “We are grateful that the concerns of the council and the governing body about sustaining improvements at the school will be examined by the court.”

Sarah Jane Scrace, chair of governors at the school, said: “We’ve had letters and phonecalls from parents to say they don’t want the school to become an academy.

“They want a local school, accountable to local people, run by local people. They don’t want things to change.”

She asked parents to fill out an Ofsted survey on the school’s website in order to have their say.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Council taxpayers will be dismayed to learn that the council is seeking through the courts to thwart much-needed intervention at the school.”

He said academy status offers the best prospects for improving the performance of the school.

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