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Saturday, 25 October 2014

No plans to become an academy – UVHS claim

A FURNESS secondary school says it has no plans to become an academy in the near future –despite expressing an interest in the idea.

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NO ACADEMY PLAN: UVHS assistant headteacher, Roger Cahalin

Last month, education secretary Michael Gove wrote to every primary, secondary and special school in the country, inviting them to register their interest in seeking academy status.

Ulverston Victoria High School, along with Cartmel Priory C of E School, Grasmere CE Aided School and Langdale CE Primary, expressed an interest to the government in becoming an academy.

But UVHS assistant headteacher, Roger Cahalin, said: “All schools received a letter from the Department of Education regarding the academies.

“We expressed an interest but that is all it was. There are no plans for Ulverston Victoria High School to become an academy in the near future.

“It is something we have to think about very seriously before making a decision. This was just us expressing an interest.”

Langdale CE Primary headteacher Mark Squires said: “Curiosity was all it was. No one has contacted me.

“There is hardly any information about primary academies.

I was just trying to find out more and it was the only way to get the information.

“I want a list of bullet points as to what becoming an academy would entail before making any decision as to pursue the idea.”

Johanna Goode, Grasmere CE Aided School headteacher, said: “We have no idea what it means at the moment.

“We need to know what the parameters are and whether it’s in the best interest for the school.

“We have registered an interest to find out more information about what it’s all about.

“We always want to do whatever is in the best interest for the school. It’s one of the options. We need to find out if it’s the best one for the children.”

Mr Gove vowed to fast-track schools rated by Ofsted inspectors as ‘outstanding’, such as Cartmel Priory, allowing them to reopen as academies in September this year.

Cartmel Priory headteacher, Paul Williams, said: “We have expressed an interest but, as yet, we haven’t discussed it. We’re keeping our options open.

“It was the only way of finding out more information. The governors will discuss it but certainly not for September. We will have no idea until we have looked at all the pros and cons.”

The DfE stressed the schools had only expressed an interest, rather than formally applied, but added that officials could begin discussions with schools keen to pursue academy status immediately.

The government, which is removing local authority powers to block schools that want to become academies, is planning to oversee a dramatic expansion of the academies programme, which under Labour, was focused on replacing struggling schools in poorer areas.

Academies can expect to receive roughly 10 per cent more funding, direct from central government, than they currently get from their local education authority, according to a DfE source.

They would also run their own finances and curriculum, and could be managed by outside companies.

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