Academy status for Churchill could be ‘best show in town’

THE headteacher of a decaying North Somerset school says a switch to academy status could be the ‘best and only show in town’.

Dr Barry Wratten, of Churchill Community School, has been asked by governors to set out the pros and cons of academy status and to research the details and implications of a change.

Once this has been reviewed the school’s governors say they will then consider what is best for Churchill in the new educational climate under the Coalition Government.

Dr Wratten stressed that although rapid change can be ‘dangerous’, staff and students would be put first and that more will be known about funding when the Government releases the final education spending figures next month.

Dr Wratten said: “We must make our decisions in the context of other funding decisions. The huge cuts to local authority funding will change the whole landscape.

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“I have never really seen such a time of rapid change in over 30 years in schools.

“So my view on academy status is that it may be the best and only show in town given the circumstances.”

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Once Dr Wratten has given his information to the school governors they have the options of either asking for more information or testing the water via consultations.

Dr Wratten added: “We are very open in what we do at Churchill and always seek feedback and will if or when the time comes to make decisions.”

He said that as devolved capital, the amount of money allocated each year to schools to be spent on their priorities in respect of buildings, was slashed by 80 per cent, Churchill is bound to be hit the hardest as much of the school’s buildings are decaying and in urgent need of renovation.

He added: “My own personal opinion is that schools need to live in the world in which they find themselves and at present, education Secretary Michael Gove has determined great momentum in a very short period, and one of his key policies is to support schools who wish to convert to academy status.

“There is no imminent decision in the offing but that does not rule out progress in this matter if that is the decision of the governors - sooner rather than later may be better than wait and see.”

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