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Church primary schools bid to team up in academy trust

By Tamworth Herald  |  Posted: September 13, 2013

By Nicki Robinson

  • Woodside C of E Primary School.

  • Left. Warton Nethersole's C of E Primary School.

  • Woodside C of E Primary School.

  • Warton Nethersole's C of E Primary School.

  • Austrey C of E Primary School.

  • Newton Regis C of E Primary School.

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FOUR North Warwickshire Schools have applied for academy status.

Conversion applications have been made for Austrey, Newton Regis, Warton Nethersole and Woodside CofE Primary Schools.

Governors of the schools have registered an interest with the Department for Education of their intention to transform the schools.

Consultation letters have been sent to parents and other stakeholders or interested parties, with feedback currently being considered. The plan is for the schools to form a multi-academy trust, sponsored by the Church of England through the Diocese of Birmingham.

"This would mean the school's church school status will be protected and the extra funding generated from academy status will be of greater benefit as more funds will be available," explained a spokesperson.

The added: "It is important to state at this point that it is intention of the governing bodies of all the schools that each school remains a separate entity and maintains its unique characteristics and ethos.

"There are no plans to make alterations to the school uniform; alter the employment rights of the staff or make alterations to the school year or the school day.

"The main change will be the way funding comes into the schools which will be directly from central government; however each school will still be responsible for allocating their own budget in accordance with their individual priorities.

"The schools will also benefit from closer collaboration regarding sharing of teaching and other staff expertise, staff training and shared resources."

In a letter to the school's local parish councils sent over the summer, governors explained the decision: "The primary concerns of the governing body are for the welfare of the children that attend the school and to ensure the quality of educational provision."

Governors claim academy status "will assist in this endeavour and benefit the school" for a number of reasons.

They are listed as:

It will give the school access to funding which is currently retained by the local authority.

"Recent Government cuts have significantly reduced staffing at Warwickshire Education Service and they no longer have the capacity to support us fully .We are already having to look elsewhere for resources and support."

"We will be able to work in closer collaboration with local schools giving opportunities to develop initiatives which might be too costly for an individual school."

"There will be opportunities to purchase services and resources across a group of schools and therefore reduce costs and give greater freedom over services we secure being more tailored to our needs."

"We will be able to agree and establish our own curriculum. This will mean our curriculum will be designed to meet the needs of our children and no longer have to change to reflect the views of each government."

"By applying to convert sooner, rather than later, we are avoiding being forced into academy status under the sponsorship of another school, possibly from outside our community."

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