School tests the water on academy plan

Shevington High School
Shevington High School

A popular Wigan school could become the latest in the borough to convert to an academy.

A consultation is under way to find out whether parents and other stakeholders linked to Shevington High believe it should make the change.

The governing body and I believe if we are to become an academy the purpose would be to benefit the pupils in our school and the schools we are joining together with

Head teacher Julian Grant

Several schools around the borough have already left local authority control.

Shevington High would establish a multi-academy trust to run the school and would need at least one other school to join it.

Head Julian Grant said: “The purpose of the consultation is to get views on whether we move to become a multi-academy trust and we have tried to make it quite clear that we have no partners at the moment so we are consulting and we will be speaking to primary schools.

“The governing body and I believe that if we are to become an academy the purpose would be to benefit the pupils in our school and the schools we are joining together with.”

Mr Grant said he had not yet spoken to any representatives from primary schools and did not have a particular school in mind to join the trust.

“I would hope it would be a school that we work with. We already have really strong partnerships with the primary schools that feed in with us so one or two of those would be ideal,” he said.

Academies were initially introduced to help failing schools, often with a Government-approved sponsor such as a business, charity or another school. Now successful schools can become converter academies, where they choose to become an academy, rather than having it imposed upon them.

Shevington was rated as “good” by Ofsted inspectors when they visited in 2012. Mr Grant said: “At this moment in time we are making great success with outcomes for the school. We are due to have an inspection soon and we would hope for a promising outcome.

“The educational landscape is changing so we don’t have to become an academy but working together is going to be key to the next stage of making future progress for the pupils. If I can improve the connection between us and our primary schools, I’m sure those students who come through to us will benefit from that.”

If the school decides to convert to an academy, it would need to find at least one other school to join it to set up the multi-academy trust and also get approval from the Department for Education. It is thought the very earliest the school could become an academy is September.

Mr Grant said there would be “very slight changes” at first. He added: “What we do get from becoming an academy is the ability to collaborate more with schools. That further partnership means we can do joint CPD (continuing professional development) across the organisations and the opportunities for other staff occur.

“Generally the partnership will be the big difference and hopefully that will enrich the opportunities for the schools in the trust.”

And he insistedd some things will not change if the school becomes an academy. “We are not changing our name, we will still be Shevington High School, we will just be a part of the trust.”

A website with details of what the proposed change would mean has been launched at www.shevingtonhsconsultation.co.uk. Appointments can be made to see the head by calling his PA Lisa Thompson on 01257 400990 or contact enquiries@shevingtonhigh.org.uk. The consultation closes at 3pm on Friday, December 23.