A SUNDERLAND secondary school has become the latest in the city to convert to academy status.
The Venerable Bede CE School opened as a new academy this term, and a survey of pupils showed they are already happy with the change.
Headteacher Gill Booth said staff, parents, pupils and everyone connected with the Ryhope school were consulted before managers decided to go ahead and apply for the status.
She said: “The outcomes of the consultations were very positive. People could see the advantages would far outweigh any potential disadvantages.”
Mrs Booth took over the headship two years ago, after the shock resignation of the previous principal.
She said: “It has been quite a journey for everyone and a lot of hard work. The school has had a really good Ofsted report, and in the summer had the best set of results ever, so becoming an academy seemed the next natural stage because we are committed to moving the school forward.”
Deputy headteacher Lynne O’Leary, who worked hard on the academy application, said: “It just seemed like the right time for us to do this.”
Mrs Booth said the main reasons for becoming an academy was to make the most of the freedoms and flexibility that it gives.
She said: “It is particularly the freedom around the curriculum. We want to be able to provide our children with the skills they need for the 21st century.”
She said it is early days, but the school hopes to invest in new technologies for the students. Although the school has become an academy, there are few visible changes – the logo will stay the same, as will the uniform.
Mrs Booth said: “We had a big consultation with students last year about the uniform, and they said they were happy with it. We also didn’t want parents to have any extra costs.”
Converter academies are successful schools, those dubbed good or outstanding by Ofsted, which have chosen to convert to academies. They are not under local authority control and get their funding directly from central government.