Three Blackpool schools have been handed orders to convert to academy status - which could mean half of the resort’s schools will no longer be controlled by the council from September.
St Mary’s Catholic College and Christ The King and St Cuthbert’s Catholic primary schools have each been handed orders from the Department For Education after consulting with staff and families about the move at the end of 2013.
The schools intend to convert from September 1, to form the Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi-Academy Trust
If approved, the move would leave just one of Blackpool’s eight secondary schools under the control of Blackpool Council from the start of the next academic year; Highfield Humanities College in South Shore.
Of the resort’s 43 schools, 16 are already academies, with a further seven seeking to convert from September, leaving only one each of the area’s special schools and secondary schools under local authority control.
An academy is a publicly funded school no longer under authority control, leaving it free to set its curriculum, term times and in control of its own finances.
Under Government rulings, schools can be handed an order if they are deemed to be failing, or schools can apply to convert to join an academy trust or take on a sponsor.
While St Cuthbert’s, on Lightwood Avenue, South Shore, has been having monitoring visits after being deemed to have serious weaknesses in May last year, the high school and sixth form on St Walburga’s Road and the primary school on Bathurst Avenue, Grange Park, have both been rated as ‘good’.
It is hoped bringing the three schools together will raise attainment and progress across the board.
Barry Leyland, chairman of governors at St Mary’s and Christ The King, said: “These two schools are both good schools.
“We believe in working with other schools we can bring forward results.
“By forming the Trust all schools will be equal and benefits will be across all schools.”