Troubled Matlock School could get academy status

NMAM 11-9-13 MC 4'St Giles C of E Primary School
NMAM 11-9-13 MC 4'St Giles C of E Primary School
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A school which has suffered a turbulent year could undergo another upheaval as the Government has suggested it become an academy.

The Secretary of State for Schools, Lord Nash, sent a letter to St Giles Primary School, in Matlock, suggesting it take academy status.

In September last year the school was placed into special measures. In February, head teacher, Rev Julie Stanton, was removed from her position at late notice following pressure from parents.

Before the end of the summer term, an interim report by an Ofsted inspector indicated the school was making good progress, however by the end of the summer it had not made the progress desired by the education watchdog.

The board of governors has been replaced by an interim executive board (IEM), which has been appointed by Lord Nash and is chaired by David Wootton.

Mr Wootton said: “I have been asked by the secretary of state to help the school to improve more quickly than they have done.”

He explained that the school is not currently an academy and the IEB would be consulting on the secretary of state’s view that it should be one.

Mr Wootton added: “The IEB will do a full consultation with parents, the community, children, the local authority.

“We will provide all that information to the secretary of state.”

He said that as an academy, the school would no longer be under the governance of the local authority, but as a Church of England School, it would be governed by the Diocese of Derby.

Acting head teacher Mrs Suzanne Forster said the school had been surprised to hear the news it was potentially to become an academy following the positive interim report by Ofsted.

“I have an open mind and I’m ready to listen to all the different points of view when it comes to the consultation,” she said.

“I don’t think it will affect the education of the children. I feel it will affect the management of the school.”

A spokesman for the Department of education said:

“The St Giles School is due to consult on plans to become a sponsored academy with the support of the Diocese of Derby Multi Academies Trust.

“We believe that becoming an academy is the best way to turn around an underperforming school.

“Since 2010 we have taken more than 1,000 struggling schools and turned them into academies with the support of a strong sponsor.

“Thousands of other high-performing schools have leapt at the chance to take on academy freedoms.”