Troubleshooter joins Academy row school

David Bowes, Headteacher at Tapton school, back in a science class as teachers are stranded on their Easter breaks
David Bowes, Headteacher at Tapton school, back in a science class as teachers are stranded on their Easter breaks
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A TOP Sheffield headteacher has been sent in by city education chiefs to improve standards at a struggling city secondary - as the first step towards turning it into an Academy.

Tapton principal David Bowes is working as executive head at Chaucer Business and Enterprise College in Parson Cross for two and a half days a week.

He is qualified as a National Leader in Education and the move follows previous partnerships between Tapton and Newfield, and with Handsworth Grange.

Chaucer’s GCSE pass rate is below Government targets, with 30 per cent of pupils passing five subjects at A to C last summer, including English and maths.

But unions say the school was making progress and parents have been given no say in the Academy plans, which would see the school moving out of local authority control.

Toby Mallinson, joint divisional secretary for the National Union of Teachers in Sheffield, said: “Chaucer is an improving school and the danger is that if you don’t take people along with you, then you can set things back.

“Plans to take Chaucer down the same Academy route as Tapton are of great concern as we feel it is a system that will produce both winners and losers.

“While there may be some short-term financial benefits, we believe in the longer term such schools will struggle to pay their bills and will be forced into chains of academies run by large companies.

“We will be launching a campaign involving staff and parents to oppose these plans - we believe Chaucer needs evolution not revolution.”

But Mr Bowes said the school was not improving quickly enough.

He said: “Tapton and Chaucer will be partners for the forseeable future and it is a partnership between equals.

“Youngsters at Chaucer deserve the very best and pass rates need to be improved to acceptable standards.

“We are putting strategies in place that will give full support to the current Year 10s who will be taking their GCSEs next year.

“The road we are on is that Chaucer will in time become an Academy with Tapton as its sponsor and partner but that is further down the line.”

Executive director of young people’s services Dr Sonia Sharp said the approach to school improvements was based on strong working relationships between schools.