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Councillor quits governor role as way clears for £7m school merger

PUBLISHED: 12:48 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:02 23 January 2018

Mick Castle. Picture by James Bass

Mick Castle. Picture by James Bass

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A school governor has stepped down from his role and suggested a representative from another school that complained about him should take his place.

Alderman Swindell School.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYAlderman Swindell School. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mick Castle was co-opted onto the governing body at North Denes Primary School in Great Yarmouth in the autumn term last year, but stood down yesterday, Monday.

His appointment came after Norfolk County Council resolved to close Alderman Swindell Primary School and move it to the North Denes site, and as a campaign group to save it launched a legal challenge to contest the decision.

During the consultation Mr Castle, whose county council ward includes the school, was criticised by parents for his handling of the process and for failing to “treat people with respect” - for which he apologised.

MORE:Great Yarmouth councillor apologises after complaint lodged by parents and headteacher

He said he was stepping aside now the legal challenge had been dropped to allow someone from “the Swindell side” to come on board.

His resignation note stated: “I would like to step down forthwith as a co-opted governor to enable the governing board to invite a member of the Alderman Swindell governors to take on that role.

“Although I was of course very pleased to fulfil that role for the short term I am sure that replacing me with such an appointment would be helpful in building confidence and help secure a smooth transition.

“Rest assured that I will be pleased to help the North Denes School in any way I can as its local county councillor and I very much look forward to seeing work beginning on the construction of the new school buildings on the North Denes campus.”

MORE:Legal challenge to halt closure of Norfolk primary stops - but campaigners say fight will continue

Meanwhile admission letters are being sent out to parents with pupils at Alderman Swindell who will be asked to state three preferences as to where they would like their child to go before the end of February.

Debbie Whiting, head at North Denes, said as soon as the school had an idea of how many were coming they would start planning “effective transition” to help the new pupils feel part of the close to 300-pupil school.

The campaign group is still keen to explore other options and ensure children are not transferred until the new school is built.

Alderman Swindell is due to close at the end of the summer term.

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