The Star Opinion: Keep schools in the family

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A COLLEGE principal’s call for schools to become academies presents them with a dilemma.

Barnsley College boss Colin Booth wants every school to become an academy run in partnership with his organisation.

Which prompts the question why? Mr Booth says the new trust will aim to ensure every school which becomes an academy wil be rated good or outstanding in two years.

It’s a bold claim and one which will seem attractive to schools which are struggling.

But we would counsel caution in this matter. While the coalition government is keen on academies, there is no guarantee future governments will be as enthusiastic.

And herein lies the worry. There may be short-term financial gain from becoming an academy, but will that be sustained?

We have already endorsed the school family arrangement established in Sheffield where partnership with the local authority is encouraged.

That seems sustainable, which is the key to pupil welfare. It should not be subject to political whim.

Relief and regret after land decision

IT is with relief and regret that we report on the decision to keep land worth millions of pounds in public hands.

The sites were owned by Yorkshire Forward but following its demise there were fears the land would be sold to help pay the national debt.

Fortunately, ministers have decided all regional development agency assets will be transferred to a new government body charged with providing affordable housing.

So at least the land will remain in public hands.

But why stop there? Surely it would have been better to transfer the land to local councils so they could take control.

Affordable housing is one option, but local experts are better placed to decide what the priorities are.

When it comes to what’s best for our city, our elected representatives should get a say.

Overcoming critics

AUTHOR and Sheffield lecturer Jane Rogers is a talented and determined woman.

Her novel The Testament Of Jessie Lamb has been nominated for a Booker Prize, which means she is one of 13 authors who could win the £50,000 first prize.

But it could have been a different story as the book was turned down by a string of publishers. Eventually an independent firm picked it up and Jane has praised them for taking a risk.

It shows the truth of the old phrase, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.