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Future Voices: What actually changes at a school when it becomes an academy?

PUBLISHED: 13:00 02 May 2017

Pupils in a primary school lesson. Picture: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Pupils in a primary school lesson. Picture: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

past few years have seen many high schools develop into academies - but what impact does this have?

The having-academy status means the school is independent, state-funded and the funding they receive comes directly from central government, rather than through a local authority.

Here at Future Voices, we wanted to know how young people across Norfolk feel about these changes, what differences they noticed when their school became academies, and their opinions on academies in general. Here is what they told us:

“The single indication we were given that our school was becoming an academy was a brief notice in assembly, assuring us above all that there was nothing to worry about. Well, they were absolutely right because, to do this day, I have not noticed a single difference in the way the school is being run.”

Female, 17, Norwich

“The secondary school I attended became an academy a few years ago, and I can’t say I noticed much difference between before and after this happened. A few places were re-decorated and upgraded, but we were still stuck with old computers and a few old rooms which really made me question what the point of academisation was.”

Male, 17, King’s Lynn

“I’ve not noticed any difference in the teaching quality at my school now, the only difference is within the art block which I never go into anyway. In my opinion the money is just being distributed unevenly and only certain areas are being improved and those areas are very limited.”

Male, 17, Breckland

“When did my school officially become an academy? Last year, this year, I wouldn’t be able to tell you - there’s certainly been no drastic changes to the school. Yes, our labs may have been modernised, and the canteen facilities improved slightly, but I have no idea if that is due to becoming an academy or not!”

Female, 16, Norwich

“Academisation is a proven failure. It gives power to those that do not directly understand the school(s) they’re governing and it makes schools become driven by exam success. Exam success should not be the measure of a school, but the progression of life it creates. Although some academies are successful, for my school personally it has become detrimental and it’s left my beloved school in a worse state than when it was governed by the local authority. It hasn’t really aided us in any ways, we simply had some interior refurbishment and a new uniform. Our school is now left looking for a new sponsor.”

- Male, 17, King’s Lynn

• Do you know a school which has recently turned into an academy - what changes were made? Leave a comment below.

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