School Governors Continue Academy Status Evaluation

Penny Penn-Howard

The Governors of the Five Islands School have held a third session evaluating the benefits of switching from local authority control to academy status.

The Council’s Director of Community Services, Penny Penn-Howard, addressed them at the school this week. She urged Governors to assess all options carefully and be cautious.

It follows a previous address by a union official and a representative of the Diocese, because it is a Church school.

Headteacher Bryce Wilby said the presentation by Penny was balanced and didn’t favour any particular view. He will be the last speaker on the topic at the Governors meeting in June.

Before any decision is made there would have to be widespread community consultation, he says.

That would probably require a public engagement event and an online survey.

Supporters of academy status say it would cut out the Council as a middleman and allow the schools to spend money on what they like and alter the curriculum to address local needs.

But opponents of change claim that with our unique Local Education Authority there’s little need to go through a lengthy process of change as the Council’s focus is all on one school.

They also feel that having Councillors direct the LEA gives some local accountability.