Secondary schools mark conversion to academies

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By Exmouth People | Saturday, April 09, 2011, 11:00

FOUR more schools converted to academies this month, bringing the total number of secondary academies in the Devon local authority to 12.

This represents nearly one in three mainstream secondary schools, a proportion which places Devon 24th out of 150 local authorities in secondary school academy conversions.

Clyst Vale Community College in Broadclyst, Exmouth Community College, Queen Elizabeth’s Community College in Crediton and The King’s School in Ottery St Mary converted on April 1.

In total, 547 secondary schools in the country – 16.5 per cent – are now academies.

West Exe Technology College in Exeter had hoped to become an academy this month, but has to wait. Headteacher Steve Maddern said: “Because we’re a PFI school, the paperwork is slightly more complicated. We expect to resolve it and become an academy as soon as possible. The ability to convert is now monthly, so the earliest possible date is June 1.”

Exmouth Community College’s acting principal Graham Allen said: “We have exceptional staff, an outstanding curriculum, exemplary pastoral care and consistently high examination results.” He added: “As an academy, not only can we maintain the status quo but we have the freedom to shape the next stage of our development.”

Faith Jarrett, the headteacher at The King’s School as well as the vice chairman of the Devon Association of Secondary Headteachers (DASH), said: “We’ve done it because we felt it would give us the best opportunity to carry on many of the things we’re doing. We felt there’s greater security in the finances, so we could better long-term plan.”

The chairman of governors, Edward Bloomfield, added: “The change will mean we receive our funding directly from the Government, give us greater freedom over how it is spent and enable us to be more innovative in our drive to raise standards yet further.”

Until now, only schools judged by Ofsted as outstanding or good with outstanding features have been allowed to apply to convert. However, applications are now considered from any school that can make a compelling case for academy status.

Schools minister Lord Hill said he was “delighted” so many schools had decided to become academies.


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