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Academy bid considered by Blackburn's Witton Park High School
4:06pm Wednesday 16th January 2013 in Blackburn
A BLACKBURN high school which moved into a new state-of-the art building in September is considering becoming an academy.
School bosses at Witton Park High School, in Buncer Lane, met on Monday night to discuss the possibility of breaking free from Blackburn with Darwen control and becoming a publicly funded independent school.
Academies have more freedom than other state schools over their finances, the curriculum, and teachers’ pay and conditions.
They are funded directly by central government, instead of receiving their funds via a local authority.
Witton Park headteacher Dean Logan said: “Many policies and agenda items are reviewed periodically as good practice, as part of this process governors review all aspects of the school. Status is part of that review.
“Governors have scheduled meetings throughout the school year. Monday night’s governors’ sub group is one that is focussed on staffing and curriculum matters.
“Staffing and curriculum issues are very important in planning for school improvement. Discussions on and around academy status are common place in schools and with Governors.
“Academies make up more than 50 per cent of secondary schools nationally and is one of the Governments key policies.”
Coun David Hollings, chair of governors at the school, did not attended the meeting but said he was aware of the discussions. He said: “We always look at a wide range of things at the school. There are no decisions being taken but we are looking at all possibilities.
“The government is perpetually changing education policies and we have to discuss how all these changes may or may not affect us.
“Last night’s meeting was the first of the new year in which the topic could have been discussed. It’s in the very early stages of discussion.”
Simon Jones, executive member for the NUT union slammed the idea.
He said: “The school has been rebuilt as part of the BSF scheme and now they are looking at doing their own thing.
“We are working with our school representatives and teacher members. The members are very worried because they have seen the problems other members are having in academies in relation to pay and working conditions.”
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