Primary schools’ academy plans refused

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FOUR local primary schools’ proposals to form an academy partnership have been knocked back by the Department of Education based on their performance and Ofsted reports.

Ingoldmells Primary, Skegness Infants, Skegness Junior and Hogsthorpe Community Primary schools first announced their plans to jointly apply for academy status to parents in July. The Department of Education recently refused the application and will now work with the schools to find alternative partnership arrangements to help them become academies.

A spokesperson said: “Conversion to academies is open to all schools that are performing well and every application is considered on a case by case basis.

“We need to be confident that converting schools will thrive as autonomous institutions to deliver the best possible education for the children they serve.

“In the case of these four schools we did not think that the partnership arrangements were robust enough to drive improvement taking account of the performance of the schools and Ofsted findings.”

The low attainment of local primary schools was also referred to in a recent Ofsted report for Skegness Academy.

Although the Academy itself was graded outstanding, inspectors commented on the below average attainment levels of intake pupils from feeder primary schools.

Coun Colin Davie was concerned with the proposals when they were first announced and supports its refusal.

He said: “I would agree with what the Department of Education has decided on this matter.

“It is recognised that the primary sector is very challenging in the Skegness area and as noted in the recent Skegness Academy Ofsted report, it is something that needs rapid improvement if we are to improve the standard of education for all pupils.”

Spokesperson for the four schools and head teacher at Skegness Infants school Sue Roy said the schools have shown an ‘exceptional’ improvements and believes that can continue further through conversion to an academy.

“We are very proud of our exceptional school improvement, which is vastly outpacing improvement nationally.

“Governors of our schools are keen to make the most out of every new opportunity.

“Therefore we are very excited about becoming academies and the major advantages it can bring about with funding, resources, staffing and support.We are confident that through the academisation process we can accelerate our impressive track record of improvement.”

The schools will continue to explore the various routes into gaining academy status with a particular focus on ‘sponsor organisations that have an impressive track record of school improvement.’

Joining with the CfBT Academy Trust is another route towards becoming academies, Lincolnshire County Council recommends.