'Look at school status again'

A PORTISHEAD councillor is calling on his colleagues to review their decision to veto changes to how a town school operates. Councillor David Pasley wants the newly elected town council to look again at its decision to object to moves by bosses at Gordano

A PORTISHEAD councillor is calling on his colleagues to review their decision to veto changes to how a town school operates.Councillor David Pasley wants the newly elected town council to look again at its decision to object to moves by bosses at Gordano School to seek foundation status.The changes would mean although the school would still have to attain the educational and curricular criteria laid down by local education authority, it retains overall responsibility for standards at the school.It would also mean the school could apply for charitable status and manage its own admissions policy and look at ways of improving the curriculum and enhancing its facilities for the community.But at a meeting of the town council last month, members raised concerns that if the school was granted foundation status, it could cherry pick its students.They feared the move could mean brighter students from schools out of the area could be offered places instead of more challenging pupils who live in the town.Gordano School headteacher Graham Silverthorne has now written to all parents of students at the school saying how disappointed he was at the decision and how he did not have the opportunity to outline his plans fully to councillors.Councillor Pasley said he was now going to put a motion to council asking for the decision to be reviewed.Cllr Pasley, who did not vote on the matter when it was discussed, said: "Mr Silverthorne has written to parents saying he was not invited to address the council on the plans before a decision was made."The matter was discussed without us being fully aware of the facts."Under normal circumstances we would invite the people concerned to give a presentation to the council before a vote was taken."I think representatives from the school should be asked to attend a meeting so we can hear what they say and talk about the implications of becoming a foundation school."Gordano School headteacher Graham Silverthorne stressed the admissions policy would remain inclusive if the changes went ahead.Mr Silverthorne said: "It is clear in the consultation document that we would never seek to cherry pick our students and by law we are not allowed to do so."I am happy to work with the town council to address any concerns.


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