Hitchin school opts out for academy status

15:28 24 April 2012

The Priory school in Hitchin

The Priory school in Hitchin

Damniel Wilson

A SCHOOL has decided not to pursue becoming an academy, as it believes its financial position is strong enough already.

The Priory School in Hitchin had been accepted by the Department for Education to proceed with academy status.

But the school has decided to withdraw its application, after a year-long “moral, education and financial” investigation by the governing body.

Charles Lacey, chair of governors, said: “One of the main reasons schools give for becoming an academy is the extra funding.

“The strength of our financial position has removed this need and we believe we can still enjoy our independence while continuing to work closely with the local authority.”

The school is the town’s only mixed fully comprehensive school, and at the beginning of this school year saw pupil numbers rising to just over 1,000.

It is now embarking on a £1m expansion programme, and hopes to open a new teaching block by the end of September, and to extend its cafe and sixth form.

“In voting to withdraw our accepted application to become an academy, we have made a brave and confident choice,” added headteacher Peter Loach.

“We can now turn our full attention to the many exciting developments taking place at The Priory School, all of which will greatly improve the learning opportunities of our young people.”

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