Twin academy bid by schools

Chris Hobson.
Chris Hobson.

TWO Sheffield primary schools are preparing to break away from council control to become academies, with parents to be consulted at meetings before the end of the month.

Shiregreen’s Hatfield and Hartley Brook schools are the first primaries in the city seeking to go down the academy route.

The schools joined forces two years ago to create a ‘federation,’ designed to improve standards at Hartley Brook by linking it with higher-achieving Hatfield.

Governors fear that if the schools don’t become academies, ministers may break up the federation and force Hartley Brook to team up with a different school.

Hartley Brook is still failing to achieve minimum government targets. It was identified by the Department for Education as a school that should convert to academy status, with another school taking a lead role.

Governors feel the two schools have been making real progress by working together, sharing staff and resources, with a headteacher responsible for both schools.

City secondary schools such as Yewlands and Tapton are converting to academy status, while others are considering the possibility. A few rejected the option.

Meetings and drop-in sessions are planned at both schools.

Headteacher Chris Hobson said: “The governors want to keep the federation together and think the best way to keep our schools developing and improving as they have been doing this past year is to apply for both schools to become academies, working together in partnership.

“We are already improving our children’s education, as seen with both recent Ofsted inspections. If we became a multi-academy trust it would keep the two schools together as they are. They would continue to benefit from good leadership and make progress together towards becoming outstanding schools.”

Chris said the final decision rested entirely with the governing body but the schools were keen to hear the views of children, staff and the local community.

“We would like people’s support. That is why we are hosting these meetings to capture people’s views before we progress any further,” she said.

Hatfield received a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted and proposes to be the sponsor school, so both schools would stay together.

The local authority backs the plans.