Call for parents to take action

A PORTISHEAD dad is calling for more parents to put their views forward about a proposed change to academy status at Gordano School.

It was announced in February that the school was considering applying for academy status and a consultation was launched.

A public meeting for parents, pupils, staff and members of the community, held at the 1,900 pupil school, was attended by only 30 people.

Now, Mike Blower of High Street is calling for parents to take more interest.

Mr Blower, who has a six-year-old daughter, said: “Converting to academy status is an irreversible process and making this decision is probably one of the most important decisions Gordano School has ever had to make.”

Academies have more say over what they teach and how they spend their income.

Mr Blower says he is concerned this will also mean the school has the freedom to set its own terms and conditions, admissions policy and pay scales.

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Headteacher Gary Lewis said pupils and the community will not notice much difference if the school does become an academy.

He said: “It is simply wrong to say our admissions criteria will change. The school already holds a significant number of academy-style freedoms as a foundation school and we have always continued to abide by the North Somerset admissions criteria.

“If we do become an academy we will receive more freedom over how we spend our budget and that will simply be to the benefit of our students.”

Portishead primary schools are now being asked for their views as part of the consultation and special surgeries have been organised, allowing parents to meet with Mr Lewis and the board of governors’ chairman and vice-chairman to discuss the process.

A decision is expected to be made on March 31 but Mr Blower is asking for the consultation period to be extended so a public debate and ballot can be held.

Mr Lewis added: “We have organised a two-month consultation period with several opportunities to meet with governors and discuss the proposals.

“I am very encouraged by the searching and intelligent quality of the discussions that we have had and our governors are responding to the issues raised.”