Sheffield Springs shows Academy status not the solution

Interested news item from the BBC which reports on the Ofsted conclusions regarding one of Sheffield’s first Academies. Sheffield Spring’s gained Academy status in 2006 since when it has been under the control of the United Learning Trust, a Christian charity.

For those who think that Academy status is some kind of miracle cure for failing schools there are some sobering passages;

“standards of teaching and learning, especially among 11 to 14-year-olds, have been rated inadequate.

Governors were also criticised for not for being aware of the scale of problems at the academy, which is housed in a new £27m building and received extra government funding to boost its exam results.”

Andrew Sanger, the Cabinet member for Children’s Services for Sheffield City Council, protests that at least the school has a ‘lovely new building’; a comment that is all too indicative of the mentality of support for this scheme at council level. In other words, it is a way to avoid responsibility and to pass the buck with the sweetener of government blackmail cash.

In reality, failing schools need more than a cash injection and they certainly do not need to be taken out of locally accountable control. They need to be placed at the centre of the community and the local authority; rather than washing it’s hands of them needs to be taking the lead in making them better schools. Academies are not the solution when schools fail; Sheffield’s experience proves that; let’s hope Leeds will not follow suit….


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About darrellgoodliffe


4 responses to “Sheffield Springs shows Academy status not the solution”

  1. Joe Otten says :

    I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick regarding Andy’s comments. He is saying, as you are saying, that academy status hasn’t solved the problems despite all the extra resources and new building.


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Maybe; maybe I am viewing his comments with ‘Leeds eyes’ where there are some determined to pursue the failed policies of the national government on it’s behalf in our name. However, I have to say the general tone of the comments seemed to be appreciative of Academy status and seemed determined to defend it as a option.


  3. Joe Otten says :

    That determination to pursue failed government policies was certainly in evidence when Labour ran Sheffield, and the academy does date from them. Now Sheffield demands a parents ballot of schools seeking a change of governance.

    Andy was being supportive of the staff, who I’m sure you’ll agree shouldn’t be blamed for government policies.


  4. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Well I am sad to say it is in evidence from Liberal Democrats in Leeds. Even though parents are voting with their feet and not applying to schools threatened with Academy status if yesterdays report in the Yorkshire Evening Post is to be taken as representative. I agree staff shouldnt be blamed.


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