CHILDREN and staff at Cottingley Primary are looking forward to a “new adventure” as they make the transition to an academy school.
Having been judged by Ofsted inspectors as failing to meet current floor standards earlier this year, the school was instructed by the Department for Education to become a sponsored academy.
From Monday it will no longer be under local authority control but will come under the wing of the Academies Enterprise Trust, a not-for-profit charitable trust set up in 2008.
Headteacher Diane Elson said: “It is a new adventure, a new journey for the school.”
She said while they were given no choice but to become an academy, in line with government policy aimed at improving schools, they were given a choice of sponsors.
“We chose the sponsors because their ethos fit very well with the school ethos in terms of creating a nurturing environment in which pupils can thrive.
“If they deliver what they say they will it will be second to none and I have no reason to doubt them.”
She said that initially the main change would be visual, with a change of logo and uniforms, but the school will work closely with the trust in developing the skills and talents of teachers and other staff.
They have already been working together to ensure the transition to academy is as smooth as it can be and as part of that every child has been provided with two sets of the new uniform.
The trust, which has a network of more than 54 academies across the country, will also be able to provide staff training, advice on Ofsted inspections and even financial advice, given that the school now receives its funding directly from Whitehall.
In a presentation to parents, staff and governors, the trust said: “We are determined that becoming an AET academy will take the school on to a higher level to become an Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ centre for learning as soon as possible.
“We believe this is a real opportunity to provide success and prosperity for the whole Cottingley Primary School community.”
The academy schools system was introduced by the last Labour government but has grown under the Conservatives, with more than 2,000 schools making the change since they came to office.
To start with only schools judged outstanding by Ofsted were invited to apply for the new status but increasingly the system is being opened up to schools that need a little extra help.