Schools consult on Academy future

St. George's School in Marton.

St. George's School in Marton.

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A church school is consulting on converting to become the Fylde coast’s latest academy.

St George’s School, Marton, is consulting on becoming a Church of England academy.

A new Diocesan Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is to be established, called Cidari Education, which St George’s School could join.

An academy is an independent state school, free from local authority control and funded directly by the Department for Education.

Headteacher Dan Berry has said the move is not about “being anti-local authority” but looking at “opportunities” available to the school on Cherry Tree Road.

Governors of the school, and its headteacher, have said the consultation is responding to the changes to education.

Mr Berry said: “The decision to create MAT and to engage with the academies agenda is not about being anti-local authority but is about working positively with the opportunities we are provided with.

“We have to recognise the world of education is changing significantly and we have to be actively involved if we are to make the best of these challenges.”

Academy status would mean greater freedom for the school.

For example, it would not be tied to the National Curriculum and can instead control its own curriculum.

The school, rated good with outstanding features by Ofsted, has the option to join the dioceses’ MAT.

In literature available to parents, the governing body said: “Many secondary schools are now actively examining a change to academy status and seeking to benefit from some of the freedoms that come with independent status.

“The school feels that in becoming an academy, we would be best placed to ensure the education and well-being of every child continues to be put first. We do not think there will be a significant financial cost to the school, however, it should ensure greater financial freedom.

“There would be very little evidence of any visible day-to-day changes to pupils, parents and staff.”

The final decision lies with the school’s governing body, when the consultation closes on September 25.

St Nicholas School

Governors at St Nicholas CE Primary School believe the best way for the school to maintain its Christian ethos is to convert to academy status.

The school, on School Lane, Marton, is now consulting on converting, which would see it join the Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education Multi-Academy Trust.

Andy Mellor, headteacher, said: “The governing body has agreed to consult.”

The governors have said they believe the move would give the school freedom in “the current educational and financial climate”. In literature available to parents it is said: “(We) are firmly committed to the philosophy of providing ... a good quality inclusive church school and now believe that

the best way to ensure that this continues to be the case in the future is to convert to academy status under our own pace and direction.”

The consultation will close on October 24.