School starts academy status consultation

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A CASH-strapped school has started a consultation process as the first step towards a possible change to academy status.

Tring School will be finding out what parents, students and staff think at a series of meetings and information evenings at the end of the month.

During the school’s governing body meeting on December 8 last year, its leadership team and governors made a unanimous decision to start the process.

Governors have already met with an academies advisor at Herts County Council to get an overview of the benefits and responsibilities involved.

Facilities manager Andrew Rennard said: “There are schools converting to academies all the time so we felt it was something we should look into.”

Mr Rennard also said that there were potential financial benefits because the school would have more freedom to control its budget.

Last year it sent out a letter asking parents for financial aid because its budget for departments was likely to be cut by £30,000 and it also launched a fund to pay for new boilers.

Mr Rennard said: “The school would be able to take out contracts for services that may not cost as much as they do now and what’s left could be used to pay for other things.”

If academy status goes ahead the school would also receive a grant of £25,000 to help with the cost of change. If the bill is lower, the school can keep the difference.

The Mortimer Hill school is in the very early stages of the process and no decision has yet been made on the academy option.

But if the change happens, there would not be any change to staff terms and conditions.

Mr Rennard said that the next stage in the consultation was to gauge the views of the community.