Academies plan for ‘fail list’ schools

Gov­ern­ment or­ders one to con­vert, and four oth­ers may do too

Midweek Visiter - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @jamie_lopez1

TWO South­port pri­mary schools are set to be con­verted into academies. Both Holy Trin­ity CE Pri­mary School and St Theresa’s Catholic In­fant School will soon have academy sta­tus, ac­cord­ing to Sefton Coun­cil doc­u­ments.

Un­der De­part­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion rules, any school that re­ceives an “in­ad­e­quate” Of­sted rat­ing must be con­verted to academy sta­tus by the gov­ern­ment.

St Theresa’s, on Ever­ton Road in Birk­dale, re­ceived such a rat­ing in De­cem­ber 2016 and will now be forced to con­vert.

And bosses at Holy Trin­ity have vol­un­tar­ily re­quested that it be­come an academy.

De­spite crit­i­cism from many par­ents and teach­ers, the Gov­ern­ment says that schools ben­e­fit from academy sta­tus as they are able to have more con­trol over how their bud­gets are spent.

Academies also do not have to fol­low the Na­tional Cur­ricu­lum, so are said to have much more flex­i­bil­ity about what they choose to cover.

How­ever, gov­ern­ment rules do state that academies must teach a “broad and bal­anced cur­ricu­lum”, in­clud­ing English, math­e­mat­ics, sci­ence and re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion.

Af­ter con­ver­sion, academies con­tinue to be in­spected by Of­sted and en­ter stu­dents for the same ex­ams as tra­di­tional schools.

Ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ments which were pre­sented to the coun­cil’s cabi­net last week, Shore­side Pri­mary School in Ains­dale had also been lined up for academy con­ver­sion af­ter re­ceiv­ing an “in­ad­e­quate” Of­sted rat­ing in March.

How­ever, par­ents and staff re­acted to the re­port with shock and dis­may and the school im­me­di­ately said it planned to sub­mit an ap­peal.

Be­fore that ap­peal was pro­cessed though, Shore­side was rein­spected and re­ceived a bet­ter over­all score – mean­ing it is no longer classed as fail­ing.

Although it was listed on the same coun­cil doc­u­ment in­form­ing of the con­ver­sion plans, Shore­side’s head­teacher Mr Thomas ex­plained that the rein­spec­tion means the school is no longer due to be con­verted.

Away from South­port, four other schools in Sefton are also set to be­come academies.

The De­part­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion has or­dered that Savio Salesian Col­lege, in Boo­tle, be con­verted, while gov­er­nors at Lither­land Moss Pri­mary School, Lither­land; St An­drews CE Pri­mary School, Maghull; and St Thomas CE Pri­mary School, Ly­di­ate; have all ap­plied to be­come academies.

Ac­cord­ing the of­fi­cial doc­u­ments, Sefton Coun­cil will be re­spon­si­ble for any bud­get deficits left by schools at the point of con­ver­sion.

If any funds are left is a school’s re­serves when it con­verts, the money is trans­ferred to the academy trust.

Ac­cord­ing to the De­part­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion, both St Theresa’s and Savio are due to open as academies on De­cem­ber 1.

No date has been put for­ward for the other schools, with much of the process still re­main­ing.

Two South­port schools will soon be­come academies, ac­cord­ing to Sefton Coun­cil doc­u­ments

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