The last remaining Blackpool secondary school under local authority control is to become an academy, it has today been announced.
Not-for-profit group Tauheedul Education Trust (TET), which has “roots in the Muslim faith” according to its website, has been chosen as the sponsor for Highfield Humanities College.
Governors today revealed the decision to turn the school into an academy follows months of discussions over how to improve its performance.
It comes after Ofsted inspectors rated the school as “inadequate” in their latest report.
TET currently sponsors 10 schools, has three in the pre-opening phase and works with many more through its training and support program in the North West, The existing North West schools are in Blackburn, Preston and Bolton.
Chairman of governors at Highfield Alan Fisher said: “We can today confirm, after months of discussions with various parties, the school is to become an academy.
“The Regional Schools Commissioner gave us options in relation to who our sponsor was and, given their superb track record of educational achievement, TET were the clear and outstanding choice.
“They run a growing network of primary and secondary schools, both faith schools and non-faith schools, and it is clear that educational excellence is at the heart of everything they do.
“They will work alongside our new head teacher, Lynette Norris, and we are confident that together they can not only improve Highfield’s exam results, general performance and Ofsted rating, they can help us on to a pathway towards becoming an outstanding school.”
Academy status means the school will be outside of the local authority’s control and will get its funding from the Government.
The move will mean all seven of Blackpool’s secondary schools are academies.
Chief executive of TET Hamid Patel CBE said: “We are delighted to have been confirmed as the preferred sponsor for Highfield.
“TET is committed to delivering educational excellence and we are looking forward to working closely with head teacher Lynette Norris to drive improvement and raise aspiration for every student.
“We will be inviting parents to meet us in coming weeks, to hear more about these exciting developments and help us to shape the bright future ahead for Highfield.”
Coun John Jones, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for school improvement, said: “We need to work closely with academy sponsors to drive school improvement directly and through The Blackpool Challenge Board and that is what we will do.
“We’ve shown through initiatives like the Better Start scheme for 0 to 3-year-olds, our HeadStart scheme designed to increase resilience in young people, our free breakfasts project in primary schools and the formation of the Blackpool Challenge Board that we are taking radical and dynamic steps to reshape life for young children in the town.
“These measures will take time to show effects but will radically re-shape life for young people in the resort from the very start of their lives which, in the long term, will pay huge dividends.”