School closer to academy move

editorial image

A TOP Sheffield secondary could take a step closer to becoming the city’s latest Academy next week - as disquiet over the flagship Government policy grows.

A meeting for parents at Tapton School in Crosspool on Tuesday night heard that a crucial funding agreement which will transform the secondary’s status could be signed as early as next Monday.

The move would put Tapton on course for moving out of city council control by the beginning of August, having taken advantage of changes in legislation which allow Ofsted-rated outstanding schools to be fast-tracked to Academy status. Governors at Fir Vale voted to follow a similar path last week, while Yewlands School at Parson Cross is also set to become an Academy in September..

Parents, councillors and education officials have all expressed concern about the consultation processes - or lack of them - that governors have been adopting.

The Tapton meeting for parents only - opposition pressure groups were not welcome - was held four months after letters were sent out to families informing them of the governors’ plans.

Attending in his capacity as a local councillor was Andrew Sangar, former Lib Dem Cabinet member for children’s services.

The Lib Dems introduced a policy that any school wishing to become an Academy should ballot parents first, a procedure which Parkwood School followed when it changed its status.

“It is the view of elected members in all the parties that ballots should be held in these circumstances,” he said.

“When such a major change to a school’s status is contemplated, it is important that parents are on board. No school as yet has ever gone back to a local authority after such a move and it is not clear if there is a procedure to do that.

“Tapton has sent out two letters to parents since February but a vote taken among the teaching staff showed they were highly sceptical of what was happening. In addition Tapton does not seem to have engaged with parents from its feeder schools,” Coun Sangar added.

lTurn to page 4