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Nelson school escapes ‘academy’ move
A NELSON primary school will not become an academy, the Department for Education has announced.
Governors and local politicians reacted with anger when plans to turn Walverden Primary School into an academy were unveiled in May this year.
The 437-pupil school in Bracewell Street, led by headteacher Margaret Thacker, was earmarked for a ‘forced’ academy on the grounds of poor attainment.
However, the move has now been shelved because the school sits above the benchmark below which schools must convert.
Conservative MP Andrew Stephenson welcomed the news. He said: “Whilst the Government’s Academy Schools programme is an excellent model, it is only right that those schools that are above the minimum criteria are offered a choice. In this case, the school has shown that it is improving, and is now above the threshold.
“I commend the school and its staff for turning things around, and hope that we will see that continue at Walverden in the future.” Walverden was the first school in Lancashire to be ordered to convert in a bid to improve results. Coun Joe Cooney, leader of Pendle Council, had lobbied the DfE to change their decision.
He said: “Obviously it’s good news that the school is improving enough for the Department for Education not to require it to become an academy any more.
“I’ve spent quite a lot of time lobbying and speaking with the Department for Education to ensure that local concerns were properly understood.
“I will continue to work with them and Lancashire County Council to improve all standards of education in Pendle.”