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Challenge to high school merger dismissed by High Court judge

PUBLISHED: 18:35 17 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:49 17 July 2018

There are proposals for a merger of Trafalgar College and Great Yarmouth Charter Academy. Picture: David Hannant/James Bass

There are proposals for a merger of Trafalgar College and Great Yarmouth Charter Academy. Picture: David Hannant/James Bass

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A High Court judge has dismissed a bid for a judicial review into the merger of two Great Yarmouth high schools.

A previous protest outside Trafalgar College. Picture: Anthony CarrollA previous protest outside Trafalgar College. Picture: Anthony Carroll

The case, launched by parent Amie Falconer, aimed to challenge in court a bid to merge Trafalgar College in Thamesfield Way with the Yarmouth Charter Academy on its Salisbury Road site.

Both schools are part of the Inspiration Trust which has a chain of schools in the region.

Afterwards the claimant who has a child at the school, said: “I’m very upset and let-down by the outcome. I don’t feel the right decision was made at all.

“Everything was dismissed by the judge.”

Delivering his ruling Mr Justice Walker said: “After hearing extensive oral submissions this morning I have reached a conclusion that there is no such sufficiently arguable case as would justify the grant of permission (for judicial review).”

The merger will now continue as planned, with all new pupils starting at the current Charter Academy site at Salisbury Road in Great Yarmouth in September.

Existing Trafalgar pupils will remain at their current location at Thamesfield Way for the start of the new term while building work takes place to create an enlarged single school at Salisbury Road.

Inspiration Trust chief executive Dame Rachel de Souza said: “This is an important change for pupils in Great Yarmouth, and we are pleased that the decision of the court today will allow us and our families to proceed with certainty.

“Bringing the schools together is the right thing to do, and will allow us to offer the best and broadest education to young people in the town.”

The merger proposal was revealed in September last year, 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.

The two schools are some two miles apart.

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