Topcliffe School says YES to academy


Topcliffe School are following the same path to academy status as Chivenor School, and are hoping to be managed by the same academy provider, Prospects Improve.
Governors at Topcliffe School have voted unanimously in favour of their school applying to become an academy. Two of the eight governors are on the teaching staff at the school.
Prospects Improve are now likely to run two of Castle Vale’s primary schools. Pegasus School have as yet given no formal indication of their plans.
AET (Academies Enterprise Trust) are set to run the comprehensive school.
Letters were given to the Topcliffe Staff this morning, and will be sent out to parents tomorrow informing them of the plans.
Headteacher Ian Lowe hopes that the conversion to academy can take place for September, but there is a growing queue of schools across the country applying for academy status, and some are likely to have to wait until January 2013 before the deal is done.
The formal consultation process for Topcliffe’s academy bid begins tomorrow. Members of the public have 30 days to respond if they have any concerns about the school’s proposed change in status.
Ian Lowe says that the consultation may not involve a public meeting, but if there seems to be a high level of dissatisfaction with the proposals, he is prepared to call one. But he feels that parents will want to support the bid, and will not be unhappy with the proposals.
“It is not a decision that we have taken suddenly,” he said. “The governors have been considering the academy bid for some time, since September in fact, and the staff have been aware that the issue is being discussed.”
Mr Lowe outlined a number of benefits that academy status would bring to  Topcliffe School:

  • better support from the academy provider for children, in comparison with the support offered currently by Birmingham Education Authority
  • more rigorous monitoring of the school
  • the academy provider will get to know the school better than the LEA has
  • better support and direction for governors
  • better training provision for teachers
  • it will enable Topcliffe to work more closely with partnership schools
  • academy providers charge less money for their services than LEAs, and so make more of the money available to the schools themselves

Staff contracts, says Mr Lowe, will be unaffected. They are protected by TUPE (Transfer of Undertaking [Protection of Employment]).

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2 responses to “Topcliffe School says YES to academy

  1. So where does this leave the CVCHA’s grand design for a ‘through’ school catering for children from nursery age to sixth form? I thought the Vale Community Education Group that held two consultation meetings were suggesting that.
    If the secondary school goes with one sponsor, AET, and the primary schools choose another, then creating a merger will be all the more difficult. I wonder if it is exactly for that reason that the primary schools have sought out a different sponsor and in so doing avoid a takeover by the secondary school.
    Either way, the state of the secondary school is such that urgent change is now needed. Several key staff left at Christmas with more departing at Easter. Already over a dozen teachers intend to resign for the summer and that number will grow. Essentially, this is because of a lack of confidence in the school leadership.
    There is a full governors meeting this coming Wednesday. They should, at last, receive the 500 plus signatures on the petition from the community demanding change of leadership.
    Knowing that staff are leaving in droves, coupled with the petition, you would expect the governors to live up to their responsibility and take action. Of course not. If they are true to form, they will do nothing, leaving the school to further decline. AET, where are you?

  2. They were in the school today ! Let’s hope they now move quickly to put in place the high quality leader the pupils and staff deserve and most definitely need.