Academy move WILL happen

BACKWELL School WILL become an academy on April 1 after the school governors reaffirmed their decision to make the move.

At a meeting on Monday, the decision was made to carry on with the change of status following consultation with parents, staff and members of the community.

Since the idea was first mooted, members of the National Union of Teachers and some parents have raised concerns about the prospect, fearing it could result in the future demise of school standards, and started a campaign in the hope of reversing the decision.

Despite this, headteacher Julian Baldwin believes he and the governors have taken into account the views of all interested parties and believe the move will only benefit the school.

He said: “The governing body has given it a huge amount of consideration over the past seven to eight months and have looked at the way the educational world is changing.

“This is in the interests of the future standards.

“They have taken on board ideas, questions and concerns that have been raised by staff and parents but also believe they have the support of the vast majority of the community.”

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Academies receive their funding directly from the Government, rather than through the local authority, which deducts money for central educational services.

This year Backwell School would have received an extra �524,000 if it had been an academy. It would then have to buy in additional services, but would still have had about an extra �400,000 left.

Becoming an academy will mean Backwell School will no longer be under the control of North Somerset Council but will be run solely by its own governing body, which is made up of staff, teachers and members of the community. It will also include a senior officer from North Somerset Council to ensure the school maintains a relationship with the local authority.

The school has also created its own charter, setting out the standards and values the school must maintain in the future, and a copy of this will be sent to all pupils’ parents as well as to parents of primary school children in years five and six who are expected to move on to Backwell School.

Now the decision to become an academy has been reaffirmed, the next stages involve legal and administrative work before the change happens on April 1.