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….