Eastbourne schools seek academy status

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TWO of the town’s secondary schools will consult on whether to become academies.

Governors at both Ratton School in Park Avenue and Cavendish School in Eldon Road are exploring whether becoming academies will give them greater control.

The government is inviting more schools to apply for the semi-independent status.

The change involves schools existing outside local authorities and being in charge of budgets, pay and conditions.

However, unions oppose the move, saying they will fracture the education system.

Governors at both of the Eastbourne schools think becoming academies may give them ‘more flexibility to be more creative in how they develop and respond to the needs of their students and their community’.

Although the two schools have announced their consultations at the same time, they will be independent of each other as they are separate schools and intend to remain so.

Kenny Fitzpatrick, Cavendish head teacher, said, “The primary function of the governing body for Cavendish School is to ensure that the school delivers the best possible education for its pupils and their families.

“Governors also take very seriously their responsibility to serve the local community.

“After much thought and discussion, Cavendish governors want to explore whether the new academies programme offers a number of significant benefits which could support the school’s drive for continuous improvement.”

David Linsell, Ratton’s head teacher, said, “You will be aware that Ratton recently became a trust school and there is increasing evidence that trustees have already made a significant contribution to Ratton.

“Ratton will retain the trust arrangements if it becomes an academy.  

“As a trust school, Ratton has already begun to think differently about how it approaches raising standards; the governors believe that becoming an academy could be the next step in Ratton’s development. 

“The governors of both schools want the consultation to be above and beyond what is required by the government and want to stress that no decision has yet been made other than to consult with the community.”

Both schools are currently contacting parents, councillors, local primary schools and other interested parties.

People will be able to learn more and have their say about the plans before the governors make a decision.

More information will soon be available on both of the school’s websites, which can be found at www.ratton.e-sussex.sch.uk or www.cavendish.e-sussex.sch.uk.