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Education Secretary visits Chapel Road School and joins rural schools summit

7th November 2011

On Friday the Education Secretary, the Rt. Hon Michael Gove MP, joined George on a tour of schools in rural Norfolk. Together they opened the new mobile classroom at Chapel Road Special School in Attleborough which houses a food technology suite and drama and sensory room.

Chapel Road School is a highly regarded and OFSTED rated ‘outstanding’ special needs school. It currently has 63 students aged 3 – 19 with severe learning disabilities and other needs.

After the formal opening of the new classroom, during which George and the Education secretary Michael Gove tried an interactive mat in the sensory drama area, they were taken on a tour of the school by year 10 students, James Field and Lewis Sismey, with Head teacher, Karin Heap, Chair of Governors, Terry Hickman-smith and local social entrepreneur and consultant to the school, Robert Ashton.

Chapel Road School has long been earmarked for capital refurbishment by the County Council, but was inevitably affected by the BSF cuts. Taking the Government’s Localism and Big Society philosophy to heart, the school and local entrepreneurs have since come up with a novel new partnership with Wymondham College, an outstanding State Boarding School, which the Secretary of State recently helped to acquire Academy status. Under the County Council backed plan, Chapel Road School will relocate to new state of the art premises on the Wymondham College campus, releasing the Attleborough site for development.

George and the Secretary of State later joined with Wymondham College delegations at the school to discuss this partnership and their vision for Chapel Road’s future.

The Education Secretary said the school was an ‘inspirational’ example of what can be done when a community rallies behind it, with Head Teacher Karin Heap saying: ‘This gives us a huge boost and we’ve shown ourselves at our best.’

After the visit to Chapel Road School George and Michael Gove attended a Rural Schools Summit, Chaired by Elizabeth Truss MP, at Methwold Community School to discuss with parents and teachers from across the county the challenges facing schools in rural, sparsely populated areas.

BBC Radio Norfolk iPlayer catch up: (interview with Michael Gove begins approx 1 hour in)

EDP coverage of the visit:

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