Schools are latest academy converts

NILALM110405B1 - Ilkeston School
NILALM110405B1 - Ilkeston School

ALL but one of Ilkeston’s secondary schools are set to become academies, after news this week that Ilkeston School is to convert.

The school announced on Tuesday that, like Bennerley Business and Enterprise College, in Cotmanhay, it too will be sponsored by charity Ormiston Trust from September, leaving just St John Houghton School under state control.

The move has been given the go-ahead after discussions between the school’s governing body and Derbyshire County Council.

School bosses will now begin consultations with parents and staff before academy status can begin.

Chair of governors Helene Morland said: “This marks an exciting future for our school. Becoming an academy will help us to raise aspirations and improve outcomes for students, staff and the wider community.”

But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) warned that they fear a principal could now be ‘shared’ between Ilkeston and Bennerley under these proposals, which would see Ormiston sponsoring both schools.

NUT county secretary John Holmes said: “The people of Ilkeston will have no say about what goes on in secondary schools in their town. Local councillors will have no say at all.

“We believe that’s a very bad thing. The school is part of the community and should respond to the community.”

Meanwhile The Long Eaton School, rebuilt as part of a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in 2006, announced its plan on Friday to convert to an academy, leaving just Wilsthorpe School in the town as a non-academy.

The school became eligible to apply for academy status after two consecutive ‘outstanding’ Ofsted reports, under legislation passed last summer.

Headteacher Neil Calvert said: “We are delighted to have completed our conversion. Although the process has been long and complex, we are extremely proud to have become one of the first schools in Derbyshire, and one of the first PFI schools in the country, to become an academy.”