School governors seek academy status

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Governors at Fir Vale School in Sheffield have voted to apply for academy status, in the face of opposition from parents and councillors.

The Government gave the school the chance to apply to be an academy because it had been given an ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted inspectors.

At a board meeting governors voted to submit an application to Education Secretary Michael Gove, who will consider the plan over the coming months.

The chair of the governors, Tina Ball, said becoming an academy will give the school more control over its money.

“Education cuts could have meant a drop in funding of over half a million pounds for Fir Vale School in the next three years,” she said.

“Academy status will ensure money comes direct to the school and will allow us to protect jobs and services while developing new opportunities for students.”

Parents had asked governors to delay the decision, claiming they had not been properly consulted. They had asked for a ballot before an application was submitted.

Coun Ibrar Hussain, whose Burngreave ward includes the school, said he only found out about the prospect of academy status less than two weeks ago.

“I wish they had listened to what we had to say,” he told The Star.

“It is very important to listen to the parents of pupils and those of feeder schools. There is still time to extend this process.

“We are not campaigning against academy status - we just want more time to weigh up the facts. Parents don’t know what it means, what it involves.”

The governing body said the decision was taken after nine months of research, which included talking to other academies, staff, students and parents.

Ms Ball added: “We have worked hard to make Fir Vale one of the city’s most successful schools. Academy status is the next step.”