Gleed Boys bids for academy status

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SPALDING could get its first ever all-ability secondary school if Gleed Boys successfully transforms into an academy.

Governors want to break free from local authority control by September and if their application to the Department for Education is successful, the school will get an extra £200,000 on top of its annual £3 million budget.

Headteacher Geoff Cowley told the Free Press he would like to see an all-ability school.

He said: “I personally think that the grammar school and secondary modern divide isn’t the best for all students and that a school that admitted all abilities would be beneficial to Spalding.”

A public meeting will be held at the school at 7pm on Wednesday, April 27 so parents can comment on the school’s plans.

In a letter to parents, Mr Cowley says: “Academies are publicly funded independent local schools that provide a first class free education.

“They are all-ability schools that provide a teaching and learning environment in line with the best in the maintained sector and offer a broad and balanced curriculum to students of all abilities, focusing especially on one or more subject areas (specialisms).

“As well as providing the best opportunities for the most able students and those needing additional support, academies have a key part to play in the regeneration of disadvantaged communities.

“We are applying to become an academy because we will enjoy greater freedoms than local authority schools, including greater independence over admissions, personnel issues, finance and curriculum content.”

Mr Cowley “guess-timates” the school will receive an extra £200,000 a year if it becomes an academy.

He said: “You do have to provide extra services that the local authority would no longer provide but, having paid for those services, we would be considerably better off.”

Gleed Boys’ School and Gleed Girls’ Technology College were promised multi-million pound rebuilds on a brand new site under the Labour Government’s Building Schools for the Future Programme.

But those plans collapsed when the funding was axed with the change of Government last year.

Both schools are housed in buildings put up in the 1940s but Mr Cowley doesn’t believe the condition of the Gleed Boys’ building will hamper the academy bid.

Mr Cowley said: “We all know it’s what goes on inside the buildings that’s more important than the buildings themselves.”

Gleed Boys also had its worst GCSE results in 2010 for some years but, again, the headteacher is confident that the “blip” will not dent the bid for academy status.

He said a small group of students performed badly and it had a disproportionate effect on the overall results, but projections for this year are good.

Academy status gives schools the power to set their own curriculum, pay and conditions for staff and admissions policies.