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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Academy bid ‘on target’

WHITEHAVEN School’s transformation into an academy is on track to be completed after the Christmas break.

The Whitehaven News can confirm that the school is on target to convert to academy status on January 6, as part of the Bright Tribe Trust.

In recent months, parents, staff and the community have been consulted on the plans which would see the Whitehaven School gain academy status, meaning it will become a publicly-funded independent school.

The school and Trust have confirmed they are now waiting for the funding agreement to be signed by the Department for Education, the final part of the process.

Wendy Singleton, communications and marketing manager at Bright Tribe, said: “We have been working with the school for some time to ensure staff, parents and students are fully consulted with and informed about the conversion. Our Education Team has also already begun working with the school to establish future educational development.”

In May, Ofsted judged the school overall as requiring improvement, with behaviour and safety of students and leadership and management being judged as good. The school is currently awaiting a monitoring visit from inspectors.

In May the governors voted unanimously in favour of converting to academy status, saying it was in “the best interests of students and staff’’ and would “further accelerate the school’s progress’’.

Bright Tribe is a non-profit-making trust with charitable status which is approved by the DfE to help raise education standards.

In a letter to parents earlier this year, headteacher Lynette Norris said: “Becoming an Academy is a huge decision and a significant step for the school to take. The governors have not taken this or their duties lightly.

“This is a really important time for the school community and its future, as we have just had a successful Ofsted inspection. We are feeling optimistic and liberated by the opportunity of working with the Bright Tribe team. The wealth of experience and expertise we will be able to draw on will be an enormous benefit to all areas of the school and all students, and we are enthusiastic about this relationship.”

If Whitehaven School becomes an academy, it would receive its money directly from the government – not from Cumbria County Council – and staff would have their contracts transferred to Bright Tribe.

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