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Legal challenge to Worthing academy bid
Teachers and parents have launched a legal challenge against a school’s academy conversion following a third day of strike action.
Staff at Worthing High School walked out for the third time in five months as bosses forge ahead with controversial plans to become an academy.
Around 16 teachers went on strike yesterday – 33% of those eligible to do so – following previous strikes on July 11 and October 23.
The school is set to convert to academy status on December 1 following a strongly contested campaign.
Worthing High Academy Action Group (WHAAG) announced that they have now mounted a legal challenge as they claim the school’s application was invalid.
Following the governors’ approval of the plans on May 30 this year, the school’s trust board members were also required to give the green light.
Guidelines state that a minimum of half the total trustees – of which there are ten – must vote.
However, only four were at the meeting.
A WHAAG spokeswoman said: “This matter is now the subject of a legal challenge by the National Union of Teachers and WHAAG have requested an investigation by the DfE or other appropriate body.
“Mr Cohen the chair of governors has either knowingly progressed an invalid and misleading academy application or presided over mind boggling incompetence.”
Karen Hayler, the school’s business manager, acknowledged the mistake and thanked WHAAG for bringing it to their attention.
She added: “The decision made is still valid in company law. It is best practice to meet again and vote and that was done on November 9.
“We have informed the DfE and it is not an issue.”
She added that the school remained open yesterday for all children with a reduced curriculum.
They are set to formally convert to academy status on December 1 after West Sussex County Council signed off the final required documents.
The application for academy status is now with the Secretary of State who must respond by November 30.
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