Bungay High School bids for academy status

GOVERNORS at Bungay High have approved a move for the school to become an academy.

They met on Monday to discuss the proposal and have now given it their backing.

It means the school can send its application to the Department for Education and hopes to be an academy by August 1.

When governors met last month they extended the consultation to allow parents and staff further opportunities to have their say, but on Monday they gave it their rubberstamping.

Headteacher Sean O'Neill said: 'The decision was made to become an academy. At the moment we believe it is in the best interests for the school and the students to become an academy.'

The proposal will see the school, which has over 900 pupils, move away from local authority control.

This would provide it with the freedom to set its pay and conditions for staff, deliver the curriculum and change the length of its terms and school days, if it wanted.

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Mr O'Neill said that the move, if approved, would allow the school to drive its own improvement agenda for the future within the national academy guidelines.

'The additional financial improvement will benefit us in the short term, but it is not just a financial decision, it is a leadership of learning decision we have taken,' he said.

Mr O'Neill emphasised that the school would continue its close partnerships with Sir John Leman High School, in Beccles, Leiston High School and Stradbroke High School and work alongside Lowestoft College.

Last month Sir John Leman High School headteacher Jeremy Rowe also revealed his school had applied for academy status.

The next step for both schools is to wait for approval from the Department for Education and to reach a public funding arrangement. Both hope to be academies by August 1 in time for the next school year. The academy idea was previously focused on worse performing secondary schools, but the coalition government announced legislation last year for 'outstanding' and 'good with outstanding features' schools to become academies.

Figures released on Monday showed that more than 1,000 schools nationwide have applied to become academies, with 240 schools applying in the last month alone.

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