Story: Douglas Johnson
Parents of children at Parkwood and its feeder schools (including Pye Bank) are being asked to vote on whether it should become an Academy. The poll closes on 22nd October. But what does it all mean?
Changing failing state schools into Academies is a high-profile Government policy, launched in 2000 by David Blunkett. They are independent schools, funded by the state but run by sponsors from the voluntary and business sector or faith groups. The sponsor owns and runs the school, which will have its own approach to management, governance, teaching and the curriculum.
The sponsor selected by Parkwood School is Edutrust, a group of businessmen and other leaders. The most well-known are James Caan, famous for being on “Dragon’s Den,” and Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury.
However, academies have been controversial, with opponents complaining of the privatisation of schools and a high level of exclusions. They also question poor exam results in many academies.
The right for parents to vote is the first in the country. Sheffield’s Cabinet member for education, Andrew Sangar, said, “as far as I know, no other Council is taking such measures to involve local people in the future of their schools.”
The Academy proposal is being strongly promoted by the school and council but is opposed by the North Sheffield Anti-Academy Alliance. We invited the school and the Anti-Academy Alliance to put their arguments for and against: