Schools all set to become academies

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THREE schools are set to enter a new era when they convert to academies later this year, after being given the go-ahead by the Government.

County Upper School and Horringer Court and Westley middle schools hope to open simultaneously as separate academies linked by an ‘umbrella trust’ in September.

They have received approval from the Department of Education to transform into academies, which are publicly funded independent schools.

County Upper head Vicky Neale said: “We genuinely believe in what we currently offer and this new arrangement will enable us to work together in the knowledge that the schools are secure for as long as parents support them. We have certainly had massive support for these proposals so far.”

Middle schools in the town continue to face an uncertain future as part of Suffolk County Council’s plans to switch to two tier education.

In Bury, the move has been put back until at least 2017 and the authority is having to plan the review differently compared to the original scheme because of doubts over Government funding.

Bury headteachers are due to hold meetings to discuss the way forward for education in the town.

Mrs Neale added: “Up and down the country, many of the new academies are being set up to go from age five to 18 in all through arrangements which involve three tiers as we currently have in Bury.

“They are putting in a middle school phase because they recognise all the advantages of a distinct unit for this age range.”

Westley and Horringer Court heads Nick Templeton and Tania Johnson said they were looking forward to working collaboratively.

A final round of consultations will now be held and the schools hope to open as academies for the start of the new academic year.