Concern over schools’ bid for academy status

Five schools in Comet country have expressed an interest in becoming academies, causing concern at a union.

St Thomas More Catholic Primary School in Letchworth, The John Henry Newman Catholic School in Stevenage, Raynsford VC Lower School in Henlow, and Our Lady Roman Catholic Primary School and St Andrews C of E in Hitchin have all signed up to the initial stage of the process.

The schools, all faith-based with excellent Ofsted ratings, could become specialised and receive funding direct from the Government rather than the county council if they decide to apply for academy status.

This has led the GMB union to ask for assurances from headteachers that teaching support staff members, such as assistants, caretakers and secretaries will retain their current pay conditions and pensions.

But headmistress at Thomas More, Mary Hewitson, said it was very early days and school governors needed more information before any decision could be reached.

“As an outstanding school we were approached to register an interest - to get further information you have to register. The governors feel that there isn’t enough information available. We are hoping that there will be more clarification in the autumn term, at present there has been no discussion,” she said.

The other headteachers declined to return our calls.

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