School Academies

Story: Lisa Swift & Ian Clifford

In two years’ time all of Burngreave’s secondary schools could be Academies. Parkwood, Fir Vale and Firth Park are all considering becoming independent from the City Council, run by private companies or trusts.

The Government is pushing Academies, saying they bring the expertise and funding of private business and other organisations. But critics of Academies warn that local communities have little control over the new schools. Academies don’t have to follow national pay scales for teachers and local representation on Governing bodies may be reduced. Sheffield already has two Academies: Park Academy on the Manor and Springs Academy close to the Arbourthorne estate. GCSE results have risen sharply since the schools gained Academy status, at the same time Springs was criticized for making 17 permanent exclusions in one year.

Firth Park School is considering a partnership with Kier, the construction company, hoping this will help meet the huge demand for education in construction from young people.

Not Convinced

Fir Vale and Parkwood are considering giving their schools over to Edutrust, a not for profit organisation. The Messenger understands that governors at Fir Vale School were not convinced after a presentation by Edutrust, and are keeping options open. A proposal for Edutrust to run a school in Bradford fell apart at the 11th hour recently. However, Parkwood High Governors are much more positive about going into partnership with Edutrust. Headteacher Chris Mallaband told the Messenger:

“Edutrust are keen to develop a highly inclusive school community. There are fears about selection and independence from local control, but the Local Authority would be a partner. Edutrust are committed to inclusion and are very much about empowering the local community.”


Chris said there would be no selection and no exclusion and an endowment would give the school an extra income of £40-50,000 a year. But local campaigners are not convinced. Ben Morris, a New Deal Partnership Board Representative told the Messenger:

“Our local secondaries are improving schools. Sheffield’s two new academies in the East of the City have managed tom “move on” their headteachers and deputies within two years, and one of them has replaced the entire senior management team. This is not what we need. We need good community schools which are accountable to the communities they serve. City Academies are private firms allowed to appoint a majority of Governors and accountable to no-one.”

The Sheffield Anti-Academies/Trust Schools Alliance question why academies want to own schools.

“If they wished these sponsors could form partnerships with school, as other institutions do, why do they want to own them?”

A Commission made up of parent governors and parents from Parkwood and feeder schools will consider the Academy issue, taking views from the following surgeries and meetings:

  • 10th December 2007 (surgery), Parkwood School 4.30pm -6.30pm

  • 10th January 2008, Parkwood School 6.30pm

  • 15th January 2008, Vestry Hall, 6.30pm

To find out more about Sheffield Anti- Academies/Trust Schools Alliance, contact 07974 277 291,

Surgery at Parkwood School to take views on School Academies
4:30pm to 6:30pm Monday 10 December 2007
Meeting at Parkwood School to take views on School Academies
6:30pm to 8:30pm Thursday 10 January 2008
Meeting at Vestry Hall to take views on School Academies
6:30pm to 8:30pm Tuesday 15 January 2008

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The content on this page was added to the website by Derrick Okrah on 2007-11-29 10:50:34.
The content of the page was last modified by Lisa Swift on 2008-01-10 14:48:04.

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