More Local Schools To Become Academies

Belleville Primary and Graveney Secondary apply for academy status

Belleville Primary School in Battersea and Graveney Secondary School in Tooting are the latest Wandsworth schools to apply for academy status under the Government's education reforms.

The governing bodies at both schools have now voted in favour of applying for academy status following consultations with staff, parents, pupils and their local communities.

Around a dozen Wandsworth schools have registered an interest in academy status with more applications expected in the months ahead.

If their bids are approved by the Department for Education (DfE) it would mean the schools have greater powers of independence and are funded directly by central government rather than through the council.

Another Wandsworth school - Chestnut Grove - has already had its application approved by the DfE and officially converts to academy status today (July 1).

Leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said: "I'm delighted the Government's education reforms have taken seed in Wandsworth and another two of our schools are breaking free from centralised control. As more academies and free schools emerge local parents will begin to see a real increase in choice and opportunity when it comes to their children's schooling."

Council education spokesman Kathy Tracey said: "Wandsworth is home to some exceptional schools but we have long believed that the state sector should offer parents more diversity and choice.

"The academy model is helping to achieve that. It offers schools greater freedoms to innovate and adapt, helping them to meet the needs and expectations of their local community. It also gives parents and teachers more influence over the school's curriculum, class sizes, after school activities and opening hours."

Under Government regulations schools which are currently rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted - like Belleville, Graveney and Chestnut Grove - are pre-approved to take up academy status.

Wandsworth Council is working behind the scenes to set up support systems which will help other schools to successfully apply for conversion.

The borough's first 'free school' is set to open in the former Bolingbroke Hospital building in September 2012. Local parents' group the Neighbourhood School Campaign has successfully applied to convert the building into the new Bolingbroke Academy which would be run by education charity ARK Schools.

Bolingbroke Academy would be independent of the council and free to attend for local children.

July 4, 2011