Primary school consults parents on academy plans

Dawn Martin Head Teacher of Gossops Green Primary School (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150906-093731008

Dawn Martin Head Teacher of Gossops Green Primary School (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150906-093731008

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A primary school has consulted with parents about its ambition to become an academy in the autumn.

Gossops Green Primary aims to become part of the Collegiate Trust, a move leaders felt was in the “best interests of the school, our pupils and staff”.

Explaining why she and the school governors felt converting to academy status was the best move, headteacher Dawn Martin said: “We’re very excited about the opportunities and we’re mindful of the fact that, through no fault of their own, the local authority’s capacity to support local schools has been progressively worse, year on year. We can see the writing on the wall.”

The Collegiate Trust is based in Purley at the Riddlesdown Collegiate, which was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in June, having improved since becoming an academy in 2012.

Gossops Green was told to improve in January 2015 and Mrs Martin said joining the Collegiate Trust would be a “proactive” way of “moving forward and doing right for the school”.

She added: “We wanted to choose an academy trust that had a can-do attitude and put children at the centre of everything.

“The Collegiate Trust are looking to develop a hub in Croydon and Crawley and, as the first Crawley school and first primary school to be involved, we can be involved in how the trust is shaped going forward. It’s good to be in on the ground floor.”

A consultation with parents ended on Friday (July 1) and, if all goes as planned, the school will open as an academy on November 1.

In a letter to parents, Mrs Martin and Christine Crunden, chairman of governors, explained there would be no change of name or uniform if Gossops Green joined the trust. They also added the curriculum, values and ethos of the school would remain the same.

No staff changes were foreseen and leaders felt academy conversion would help the school achieve “the highest possible standards through the capacity to offer more targeted support”.

It was also felt the change would enable the school to “recruit, retain and reward” high calibre staff – an issue that has proved problematic for schools all over the country as the number of trainee teachers fell.

While keeping the curriculum the same, Mrs Martin said being part of an academy would enable staff to “refine” it in order to meet the individual needs of pupils.

One thing that would change for the better would be lunch time.

Mrs Martin said: “The other big opportunity for us is we will be able to offer freshly cooked hot meals on site.”

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