Greendown has been invited to apply to become one of the government’s new Academies. These ‘new’ academies are not be confused with academies that were created under the previous government. For example, new academies do not have a major corporate sponsor, nor are they previously failing schools re-opened under a new name. In fact, for new academies, the complete reverse is true – only schools that are highly rated by Ofsted have been given the chance to apply to do this.
Becoming an Academy is an excellent opportunity to revitalise the school, potentially with a new identity. We want to enhance and extend the Greendown offering so that we are the obvious choice for aspiring students from every background. We want to keep our excellent reputation for pastoral care but also add greater opportunities for academic and sporting excellence.
As an academy, the school would permanently become a state funded school, independent of the Local Authority. In earlier times this would mean going out from under the umbrella of support from the Local Authority. However, current cuts in local government budgets mean that the role of the LA is changing and much less support is now being provided directly to schools. The additional grant the school would gain as an Academy would allow us to replace these lost services by purchasing them directly.
The Governing Body of the school will need to assume even greater responsibilities and duties than it has at present. To ensure this works effectively the school proposes to adopt a different constitutional model which is described in detail in the full proposal document on our website.
What benefits will this bring for my child?
The staff and governors want to move the school forwards, creating a strong, high achieving school. We believe the school should work harder to promote its academic reputation – part of this would be to make changes to the school name , uniform and whole ‘feel ‘ of the school. (Any changes to uniform would be phased and only affect new pupils)
The curriculum offered will place even greater emphasis on achieving success in the ‘traditional’ subjects at GCSE level. (Alternatives will still be available for some but the majority will work towards GCSE qualifications)
As an Academy the school will seek to offer a comprehensive programme for Gifted and Talented students – an ‘academy within an academy’
Alongside a growing academic reputation the school will continue to place a high emphasis on its work as a Sports College, promoting health and fitness and establishing a bespoke programme for talented individuals
Even if your child is not academic or sporting, Greendown will still aim to provide the opportunities that will allow your child to achieve the highest level they can
In short, we hope that you will notice that the school is even more ambitious for your child to achieve success – in the classroom and on the sports field.
What will this mean for the school?
The school would have more freedom than at present in terms of what is taught. The school could decide not to implement a government intiative if it felt it wasn’t right for the pupils at the school.
The school would have more financial freedom too, having direct control over all of its budget. At present, around 12% of the school’s budget is spent by the Local Authority to provide services for the school. An Academy receives all its funding directly, without a ‘top-slice’ being taken first. Being an Academy would allow the school to decide where it spends this money and, in a time of economic pressure, will cushion the school from the ‘cuts’.
The Governing Body will work in conjunction with a new Trust Board, securing greater local control over the school and increasing the community’s say in how the school is run.
The governors and headteacher at Greendown want to use this opportunity to consult with parents (present and future) about what you want from your local school.
We want to hear your views on our current plans and how you would like Greendown to change in the near future.
There are different ways you can do this:
By reading the more detailed proposal document that can be found on the school website www.greendown.swindon.sch.uk. There is also a link called “Academies – have your say” which you can use to comment on our proposal and give your ideas on how Greendown should change. You will also be able to see what other parents think and view responses from the school.
By giving your views in writing to the school, c/o The Clerk to the Governing Body.
All responses should be made by Thursday 9 June 2011. Your views will then be considered by the Governing Body at a meeting on 4 July, after which a final decision will be taken whether to proceed with our application.
Pictured: Clive Zimmerman, Headteacher of Greendown School