A LEADING Sheffield secondary school has moved a step closer to breaking away from council control to become a Government-funded academy.
Tapton School at Crosspool is planning to change its status at the beginning of August. It is the first school to do so under new regulations introduced by the Coalition last year.
Tapton will join Sheffield Park, Sheffield Springs and Parkwood as schools which receive their funding directly from central government.
Headteacher David Bowes believes the changes will bring in an extra £740,000 a year - offsetting income of over £450,000 it is due to lose from a shake-up in funding for sixth form schools over the next few years.
Governors have now agreed to hold a public meeting, on June 21 at 6.30pm at the school, to discuss the issues - a move which some parents called for in February.
Parent Michael Hughes from Lodge Moor said mums and dads were originally given under two weeks to respond to the plans.
“Finally, after much pressure, the school has relented and agreed to the public meeting,” he added.
Tapton’s NUT representative Karen Mee said the unions were continuing to resist the proposals.
“We are also worried about the impact Tapton’s decision will have on the city as a whole,” she said.
“We are concerned the fragmentation of the local authority will undermine teaching across the city and will disadvantage our schools and our children.”
Tapton sent out over 2,000 letters to parents with pupils at the school, and also to families at its feeder primaries.
Chair of governors Caroline Bagley said 20 replies had now been received, with the majority seeking extra clarification.
“Our original plan was to become an Academy at the beginning of September, but this is problematic because the schools will be closed during the crucial days of August,” she said.
“The local authority has now received our official confirmation and we have begun consultations with staff about their terms and conditions.”
Rotherham’s Aston Comprehensive became an Academy this month, following on from Wales Comprehensive which converted last autumn.
The decision was taken by governors despite some opposition from parents, staff and teaching unions. Chair of governors John Barton said the move came after an outstanding year for the school.