Top school academy bid

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A LEADING Sheffield secondary school is preparing to break away from the council and go it alone as an Academy, bringing in a cash boost of almost £750,000 a year.

Tapton, in Crosspool, will be the city’s first to take advantage of legislation which allows outstanding schools to automatically be accepted for Academy status.

Governors believe they have little option than to seek complete independence, as funding cuts mean the school’s sixth form is set to lose around £450,000 over the next three years.

But the move has been criticised by some parents who feel the changes are being rushed through too quickly.

Michael Hughes, of Redmires Road, Lodge Moor, who will have two children at Tapton from September, said parents were given less than two weeks to respond to the plans.

He said: “Parents were given nothing but a positive slant on academies and I think they should have been given both sides of the story.

“The least parents could have expected was an open meeting where our views and concerns could have been raised – others I have spoken to feel the same.”

Headteacher David Bowes said: “We have stressed to parents there will be no change to the way the school operates.

“Currently, 10 per cent of our funding is taken away to pay for services provided by the council, which comes to £743,000, which will now come directly to the school.

“We feel we can get better value-for-money for services such as human resources, staff absence insurance and so on. One deal we have already negotiated would see our bills fall from more than £81,000 to £43,000. We’ve had to act because funding cuts are set to put in jeopardy much of the high quality education Tapton offers. It’s a move I believe other schools will be giving serious consideration.”

Mr Bowes said 1,500 families had been informed and 12 had responded, two hostile, to the plan.