Cockburn School is consulting on whether to convert to become an Academy. Academies are state schools, centrally funded by the government and outside the control of the local authority.
The school has received an Academy Order from the Department of Education which means the school can convert if the governing body decides to.
A statement on the school’s website says:
“Cockburn School is now actively pursuing conversion to Academy status … However, the final decision to convert has not yet been made by the governing body. We are conducting a formal consultation process over the coming weeks and we would welcome any comments.”
It goes on to say:
“In a time of enormous and very rapid change to the education system, the governors believe that seeking Academy status is the best way forward for the school.”
They argue that the government has indicated that it wants most schools to become academies and that by taking the initiative they can avoid a forced academisation under less favourable conditions at a later date. They also say that will have little impact on the day to day running of the school, for example the admissions policy, or terms and conditions for staff.
The school has prepared answers to common questions about the process, but they don’t mention how it might affect other schools in the Learning Trust (South Leeds). The trust includes seven local primary schools: Beeston, Hugh Gaitskell, Lane End, Middleton, Middleton St Mary’s, St Phillip’s and Westwood.
At the last meeting of Beeston Community Forum, the Chair of Governors at Beeston Primary School confirmed that the school had decided not to pursue academy status.
Comments are sought from the local community as well as parents/carers, students, staff and Leeds City Council. You can email your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The consultation period finishes on Friday 23 October 2015.
UPDATE: A public meeting will be held at the school on Gipsy Lane on Monday 19 October 2015 at 6pm.