Lessons learned from academy switches

SCHOOLS FUTURES ... Whitburn Church of England Academy.

SCHOOLS FUTURES ... Whitburn Church of England Academy.

THERE is no sign of another South Tyneside school converting to academy status in the near future, a new report reveals.

The coalition government’s academy policy was introduced in the summer of 2010.

It gave schools the freedom to spend their own budgets.

Since the policy was introduced, five borough schools have gone down the academy route.

They are Whitburn Church of England Academy, Monkton Junior and Infants Schools and Ridgeway Primary School, all South Shields, and, in July of last year, St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Hebburn.

There is no indication that any new schools are set to leave local authority control imminently.

But approaches were made by the Department for Education to Toner Avenue School in Hebburn, and Park View School in South Shields, after both required special measures.

Those moves came to nothing when both premises were taken out of special measures.

Next week, members of the council’s people select committee will receive an update on the impact of academies in the borough.

A report from Helen Watson, the council’s corporate director for children, adults and families, says: “In the case of Park View School, the governing body has decided to continue as a local authority maintained school.

“The interim executive board of Toner Avenue Primary has decided to continue its consultations with parents about the future of the school, in the light of the recent judgement that it no longer needs special measures.

“The local authority is not aware of any other schools that have applied for academy status, although others have considered, or are considering, the advantages and disadvantages.

“All academies maintain a cordial relationship with the local authority, their principals attend headteachers’ meetings and members of staff continue to attend in-service training provided by the council.” Nationally, since the Academies Act came into force 3,444 school have chosen to sign up.

Almost two-thirds of secondary schools have applied to become academies, but that figure is just 10 per cent in the primary sector.

Members of the committee will discuss the findings at South Shields Town Hall from 10am next Tuesday.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul




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