Academy status for Priory?

A WORLE secondary school is considering whether to break free from local authority control by becoming an academy,

Priory Community School was this week named on the list of institutions that have registered an interest in making the switch.

A document released by the Department for Education shows the school to be the only one in the Weston catchment area thinking about the move.

Priory headteacher Neville Coles said: “We think it is just prudent to register an interest and then to see what the pros and cons are, we will complete a process of due diligence.

“At at time where school budgets are going to be very, very tight we must make sure our students and the community of North Worle get the very best education they possibly can.

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“Priory will again hit record results in 2010 and this development might allow us to push outcomes even higher - it is about putting ‘students first’ and it is right we explore all new options - we are already a very successful community centred trust school”

School bosses are appointing somebody to decide whether becoming an academy will be beneficial and the work will be completed between September and December.

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A decision is expected to be made by the school’s governors late in the 2010-11 academic year.

Last month, every school in the country was offered the chance to become an academy by new Education Secretary Michael Gove.

If they agree to the change, it could be run by a private, profit-making company or as a trust, by the current management team.

Whitehall education bosses say becoming an academy could mean schools are between two and 12 per cent better off.

Less bureaucracy and freedom to change the curriculum are also touted as benefits, but critics say the radical scheme could lead to a two-tier education system.

Churchill and Worle community schools and Broadoak Mathematics and Computing College were not on the list, but Wyvern Community School had already taken the decision to make the transition.

From September it will be known as the Hans Price Academy, while The Kings of Wessex School is also set to change.

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