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Kidlington school may be academy
GOSFORD Hill School in Kidlington is the latest Oxfordshire school to consult on academy status.
The school, which has nearly 900 pupils, launched a consultation last Tuesday, holding its first public meeting on Thursday.
Headteacher Dr Stephen Bizley said: “It’s about delivering the curriculum we want for our students.
“We haven’t made a decision yet, we just feel now is the right time to consult.”
The school expects to get an extra £150,000 in funding if it converts.
Gosford Hill was recently rated good by Ofsted, which Dr Bizley said had helped the school make the decision to proceed.
Discussions began in earnest before Christmas, then a working party was formed to investigate whether to take the next step.
Staff were informed of the proposed change on Monday last week while parents were given just 48 hours notice of the first meeting.
Dr Bizley said: “We wanted to get the consultation moving as quickly as possible, but this was the first of many meetings.
“If parents can’t make this one, there are plenty of others. We are aware parents might be anxious. We wanted to make sure they had the earliest opportunity to ask questions.”
The extra money would be spent on additional resources and work with partner primary schools.
Staff, pupils, parents, primary schools and the wider community have been invited to have their say.
Potential benefits include freedom to buy in services, and to build stronger partnerships with other schools and community groups.
There are no plans to change the school name, uniform or terms and conditions for staff. It is also proposed to retain the existing governing body.
The consultation document also poses a number of questions for people to consider.
They include whether it is an issue that the local authority would subsequently have less money to spend on providing shared services to a smaller number of schools and whether the governing body could look after the school’s finances adequately.
Dr Bizley said: “One of the things we are very proud of is we try to be as transparent and open as possible.
“We need to be sure if we make this decision, we have looked at as many questions as possible and answered them, and we know how people are feeling.”
Three further open meetings will be held on Wednesday, May 2, Thursday, May 17, and Wednesday, May 23. Meetings and assemblies with current pupils will be held this week.
The consultation will finish on May 30, and the governors will make a decision on whether to convert on June 18.
A potential conversion date has not yet been set.
* Visit www.gosford-hill.oxon.sch.uk for the full consultation documents.