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Norfolk high school merger row to be heard in the High Court

Trafalgar College and Great Yarmouth Charter. Picture: Archant/James Bass

Trafalgar College and Great Yarmouth Charter. Picture: Archant/James Bass

Archant

A dispute over a merger of two high schools in Great Yarmouth is set to be heard in the High Court.

In September, the Inspiration Trust, which runs both schools, revealed a proposal to merge Trafalgar College and Great Yarmouth Charter Academy to the latter’s Salisbury Road site.

It came just over a year after free school Trafalgar College opened, with the trust saying a forecasted growth in pupil numbers had not materialised.

It proved divisive with parents, with a campaign set up to challenge the move and concerns raised around the religious designation and stricter approach at Charter.

But in May it was confirmed that the plans had been given the official nod from the government and would be completed by September 2019.

MORE: Revised plans for Yarmouth schools merger following consultations

Now, concerns will be heard at the High Court in London next month, after a case was brought by parent Amie Falconer, who has a child at the school.

Dan Rosenberg at Simpson Millar Solicitors confirmed he was acting and a hearing date had been set for July, but said he did not wish to comment further.

It will be a ‘rolled-up’ judicial review hearing, which will see the court decide whether to grant permission for a full challenge over how the merger was handled to go ahead. If successful, it will be heard immediately, but may be dismissed if not.

The concerns predominantly centre on the potential change of Trafalgar from a secular school to one with a Christian designation, though the trust confirmed the change had not yet taken place.

The defendant has been listed as the Department for Education, with the Inspiration Trust an interested party.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “We have been notified that an application has been made for judicial review of the Department for Education’s decisions around the merger of Trafalgar College and Great Yarmouth Charter Academy.

“We believe that all decisions have been made properly and in the best interests of the future education of children in Great Yarmouth, and that bringing the two schools together remains the best long term approach for the town.”

The Department for Education did not respond to a request for comment.

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