Beccles school takes a step closer to academy status

SIGNIFICANT changes lie ahead for the Sir John Leman High School, in Beccles, after governors approved a move for academy status and a return of the school tie and blazer.

The board of governors met once to discuss the school’s academy status application and again for a scheduled meeting which saw them vote in favour of changing the uniform.

It means that when staff return from the Easter holidays they will begin detailed work to ensure the school can become an academy by August 1.

Last month, headteacher Jeremy Rowe said that the move could see the school gain �220,000 in its first year and, now the governors have approved the move, he is looking forward to an “exciting future” for the school. “It is brilliant because they overwhelmingly voted for the academy status,” he said.

“I had confidence they would support it, but I didn’t want to pre-empt it. I am delighted that they supported our recommendation.”

Parents and staff were consulted before the governors made their decision.

Mr Rowe also revealed that the governors have approved a return to the school’s blazer and tie uniform.

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In recent years the students have been wearing black jumpers and white polo shirts, but from September 2012 it will be a blue blazer together with a dark and light blue tie. The blazer will feature the Sir John Leman badge on the pocket, while pupils will also be allowed blue jumpers with it.

Mr Rowe welcomed the move, saying that he wanted a “first class uniform for a first class school”.

He added: “We want to get the school ready for 2012 and continue to improve and progress.

“We are committed to an exciting future for our school and always continue to have high expectations of the students.”

The new uniform will be introduced in 2012 but by this time the school hopes to have become an academy and benefited from the government’s associated cash injection.

The move will see the school step away from local authority control, providing it with the freedom to set its own pay and conditions for staff, deliver the curriculum and change the length of its terms and school days if it wanted to. However, Mr Rowe said the school was committed to its traditional values and did not see major changes coming.

The academy idea was previously focused on worse performing secondary schools, but the coalition government announced legislation last year for “outstanding” and “good with outstanding features” schools to become academies.

This has led to a number of other schools to consider the option, although governors at Bungay High have extended their consultation period until May 9.