Backwell School to become an academy?

Backwell School to become an academy?

SCHOOL leaders are considering whether to turn Backwell School into an academy.

As the school has been judged outstanding by Ofsted, it has been given the opportunity to become an academy and governors are now consulting with staff, parents and students before they make a decision.

Headteacher Julian Baldwin said: “For many years Backwell School has stood out, not just for the excellence of its examination results, but for the excellence of the all-round educational experience that it offers.

“The decision as to whether to become an academy is not just a purely financial one, but what will be best for the present and future students who make up its community, and how we continue to ensure that excellence over the coming years.

“If we decide to become an academy, we want to reassure everyone that it will not change the nature of Backwell School. Admission won’t change, we will remain a committed comprehensive school and we will keep our links with primary and secondary schools.”

One of the main benefits to becoming an academy is the financial gain. Academies receive their funding directly from the Government, rather than through the local authority which deducts money for the central services it provides to schools.

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This year Backwell School would have received an extra �524,000 if it had been an academy. It would then have had to buy in any services it needed, but the school estimates it would have had an extra �400,000 to spend.

Academies also have more freedom over the curriculum they offer their students, although Mr Baldwin said that the school would not be making any changes to the curriculum.

During the consultation, staff have raised concerns that future headteachers and governing bodies would have freedom to change the working conditions and arrangements of staff, but Mr Baldwin stressed that the issue is being investigated to make sure Backwell School remains a good place to work if it becomes an academy.

He added: “It is an exciting time, and as with any big decision, it’s daunting as well. It’s not going to change the way we work or the whole experience the children have. If we decide to do it will be because it will enable us to do what we are doing better.”

The school is holding a meeting with parents tonight (Wed) and hopes to make a decision after a meeting with its governors on November 24.