Academy status considered at Hitchin school

16:25 12 April 2011

Hitchin girls school in Hitchin

Hitchin girls school in Hitchin

Daniel Wilson

A HITCHIN school is considering a conversion to academy status in a bid to attract more funding.

Hitchin Girls’ School is currently holding a six-week consultation period, in which it asks parents and stakeholders their views on the proposal.

If the plans were to go ahead, the school would receive its funding direct from the government and have greater freedom for decision making.

It would cease to be maintained by Herts County Council, the local authority, and instead be funded and maintained directly by the Department for Education.

It is believed that the school could receive up to £295,000 extra a year, which it would have greater autonomy in spending.

“The governing body of Hitchin Girls’ School is committed to providing the best education possible for students attending the school now and in the future,” said chairman of governors Colin Minton.

“To help achieve this, we believe that we should consider and evaluate the benefits that would be available to the school from converting to academy status.

“We are currently working to establish the pros and cons involved in converting to an academy and any final decision will be made only after considering questions.”

The consultation is to run until May 20, after which the governing body will review the feedback.

It will then consider whether to put in an application, which will be put forward to the secretary of state for a decision.

The earliest that the school could expect the conversion is the beginning of August.

“Changes in education levels will put a strain on resources available to the school in the future,” said headteacher Frances Manning.

“Academy status would mean the school would receive additional annual funding direct from central government.

“This would allow us to continue the excellent work currently being undertaken in science and mathematics as part of our specialism and to reinstate and expand our programme of improving teaching and learning facilities for our students.”

There are 10 secondary schools in the county that have already opened as academies, with a further eight expected to transfer over the next six months.

Any school can apply to be an academy, providing they have received an Outstanding or Good with outstanding features ofsted report.

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