School applies for academy status

A SCHOOL in Highbridge has applied to change to academy status.

King Alfred School has made the application to the Department for Education, which would mean it would become independent from Somerset County Council, and be funded directly by the Government.

But despite the move, the schools headteacher says students won’t see a huge difference in the way the school is run, and that curriculum changes are unlikely to happen.

Out of Somerset’s 28 secondary schools, four are already academies while 17 more, including King Alfred, have applied to change their status.

The school is now consulting parents, staff, current and prospective students and the community at large about the plans, with interested parties being urged to send their views to the school’s governing body.

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Headteacher Andy Owen said: “Our recent Ofsted inspection described the school as ‘improving rapidly’ so little will change if we do become an Academy except in ways which we think will further improve the school.”

Adding that academy status would not be likely to cause big changes in the way the school was run, he added: “For students, it is unlikely that they will see much, if any, change in their day to day school lives. Academies do have the power to vary their curriculums and vary the length of their school day.

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“However, we do not intend to take any such steps and would engage fully with parents or carers, staff and students if we did ever intend to make such changes in the future.

“As a school we remain totally committed to working in partnership with our partner primary and junior schools to provide the very best education we can for all children and young people in Highbridge and Burnham.”

Anyone with representations to make about the move should send them by post to the school by June 3, with the governing body then set to make a final decision on whether to change.

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