Second school bids to become new academy

061997-3_mike_niel 08/05/06 (IH)''Niel McLeod who is the headteacher of Miltoncross School in Portsmouth.'PICTURE;IAN HARGREAVES (061997-3)
061997-3_mike_niel 08/05/06 (IH)''Niel McLeod who is the headteacher of Miltoncross School in Portsmouth.'PICTURE;IAN HARGREAVES (061997-3)
Youngsters at Manor Infant School and Nursery celebrate with headteacher Ashley Howard, centre. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Infant school rated ‘good’ four years after being placed into special measures

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A SECOND Portsmouth school is to apply to become an academy, after getting backing from its governors.

Miltoncross School will ask the government for permission to ‘go it alone’.

If successful, it will become the second city secondary to do so, following the former St Luke’s School, which became Charter Academy.

Portsmouth Councillor Luke Stubbs, a member of Miltoncross’ board of governors, said: ‘The decision was taken after full consultation with staff and parents.

‘It’s based on the best educational interest of youngsters now and in the future. We think the Academies model will be best for us.’

If its proposals are accepted, the Milton Road school would become part of the Academies Enterprise Trust, which has 11 member schools in the south east, south west, and East Anglia.

It would get funding directly from government, run its own budget and have more say in how lessons are taught.Though it would not be certain to receive extra cash by breaking away from Portsmouth’s local education authority, Cllr Stubbs believes there will be other benefits.

He said: ‘The AET is run by former head- teachers with expertise.

‘We won’t be any worse off financially by doing this and we will have great support from AET. Portsmouth LEA only has nine schools, while AET already has 11.’

Miltoncross is expected to be the first of many city schools to apply for academy status.

But critics have questioned whether the Academies model will improve performance.

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘The group Miltoncross wants to join is less mad than some across the UK, and they ran their consultation well. I don’t blame schools for being tempted, as the government’s bribing them.

‘But there’s little evidence changing to academies improves schools, and handing schools to companies takes away parental and council control over how they are operated, and by who, which is very dangerous. In Portsmouth, we have already seen how the money becomes unbalanced, as King Richard, agreed by everyone to be in the most desperate need of money for rebuilding, has received none, yet Charter Academy, which was bottom of the city’s list, has received £9m.’