Norfolk headteacher’s reassurances over Trust decision
10:20 14 November 2012
A headteacher has assured parents their children will not be adversely affected by a decision to end her school’s membership of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.
Kerry Jordan, of Hethersett High School, said there were better things the school could spend its money on after the education secretary removed government funding as part of the specialist schools programme.
But she insisted it would have no impact on students and that, as far as she was aware, the school would remain a specialist science college since the requirement to officially re-designate a specialism every few years no longer existed.
Ms Jordan said: “It’s still on our headed paper. It’s still our official designation. But we are no longer a member of the specialist academies trust.
“I can’t remember how much they charge but it’s hell of a lot of money. I need that money in the school.”
All pupils will continue to study three sciences at GCSE – something which is often limited to the top sets at many schools – the school’s existing science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) clubs remain, and the school is still investing in its work with its cluster schools.
“There’s been absolutely no change to the science and maths education,” Ms Jordan said.
A recent “Dads and Lads” day at Mulbarton Infant School was well attended and the school continues to run a chess club which youngsters at Hethersett Junior attend.
However the headteacher admitted the school’s community work outside of its cluster schools had been affected.
Having ended its membership of the SSAT, Hethersett High is no longer required to promote science outside of the school and its clusters.
Ms Jordan said: “We now do less in the community to enable us to do what we do with the cluster schools. We no longer limit community initiatives to science.”
In April 2011, education secretary Michael Gove decided to stop funding specialist schools to the tune of £450m a year and put that money into the Dedicated Schools Grant instead.
Schools were told they no longer had to prove they met a set of targets to keep hold of their specialism and have it re-designated every few years.
However the Specialist Schools Academies Trust has remained in operation as a private company which encourages schools to promote their specialist subjects and share ideas.