Decision made over school’s academy status

Highfield Academy
Highfield Academy
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The troubled Highfield Humanities College in Blackpool has officially become an academy, the principal has announced.

A letter issued to parents by Lynette Norris and Alan Fisher, chair of the governing body, explained that since April 1 it had become part of the Tauheedul Education Trust (TET) and would be known as Highfield Leadership Academy.

The decision to seek academy status was made by governors last year in a bid to improve standards in the wake of the school’s “inadequate” Ofsted rating.

The move means all of Blackpool’s secondary schools have now become, or will soon be, academies and are now outside the control of the local authority.

John Girdley, representative for teaching union NASUWT, had previously hit out at the “lack of democracy” that means parents get no say in the decision to take over failing schools and questioned the decision to pick an Islam-based group to run a school in the resort, where 0.7 per cent of the population identifies as Muslim.

The letter to parents states: “We genuinely believe that Highfield has been making progress over the past few months whilst it has been working with TET.”

It adds: “The school will be known as the Highfield Leadership Academy.

“We know that parents wanted to retain the Highfield name.

“Part of TET’s successful educational model is that its schools should be at the heart of their local communities.

“The choice of name for the school is a clear signal from TET as sponsors that this will continue to be the case for Highfield.”