GOVERNORS have taken a final vote on converting a leading Sheffield school into an Academy – with the change due to come into force on August 1.
Sixteen Tapton governors voted in favour of the move, with one abstaining. Two more were unable to attend.
A previous vote had been postponed for 10 days while governors at the Crosspool school had sought to resolve outstanding financial issues.
A key problem was that the school was taking over pension responsibilities for support staff, including a deficit of £1.37 million built up by the local authority.
Agreement has been reached that the deficit will be paid off over a 20-year period, costing the school £8,000 from its annual budget.
Headteacher David Bowes said the governors’ vote had brought to an end a consultation process which had drawn criticism from some parents and councillors.
“As a result of all the research the governors have carried out on various subjects, principally the pensions issue, the funding agreement for the Academy has now been signed,” he said.
“The governors’ meeting came to an end, the old governing body was disbanded and the new body started its first meeting with exactly the same membership.”
Mr Bowes said remaining work on the conversion would be completed this month, with confirmation having been sent to the local authority and the Department for Education.
“It is preferable for this to happen now rather than in July when there will be turmoil caused by exam results and work on the school building,” he said.
“We’ve given details of the change in status to all staff, students and parents, including those from Years 5 and 6 in our feeder primaries and the Year 11s joining the sixth form in September.”
Yewlands Technology College is also due to be become an Academy in September, joining Sheffield Park, Sheffield Springs and Parkwood, which became academies in the initial phase of the programme introduced by the Labour government.
Several other Sheffield schools are discussing whether to make the change in time for September 2012.