Governors vote against academy

THE Kimberley School has decided not to pursue plans to bid for academy status, the Advertiser can reveal.

Governors voted against becoming an academy in a meeting this week because they did not feel comfortable with the risk of an outside company coming in and threatening the improvements the school had made over the past year.

Headteacher Chris Teal said the school had made ‘huge strides in improvements’ since the idea to move to academy status was first mooted, and governors did not feel comfortable with the risk of an outside body interfering with the way things were going.

“It’s a change of circumstances,” he said. “We’re more secure now.”

“When we started this process we had a ‘satisfactory’ rating by Ofsted, but we have since made huge improvements.

“We felt we didn’t want a negative impact on our improvements if another body were to come in and take us over. We are comfortable with what we stand for and we value the local authority support.”

But Mr Teal said the proposal is ‘far from forgotten’, and will be re-considered by governors every term.

“Secondary schools becoming academies is a central plank in the Governments’ educational policy,” he added.

“We are not foolish enough to ignore that and we will review the decision again every term.”

Mr Teal said he was ‘sure’ there would come a point when the school becomes an academy because it was the ‘last school left’.

But said at the moment, there was no point in taking risks.

The public consultation on whether or not the school should become academy status was the longest of its kind in the county.

A statement released by the board of governors reads: “As a result of the comprehensive consultation exercise we unanimously believe that on balance it is not in the best interest of the school to change to academy status at this time.

“However, we have resolved to keep this under review.”

Ian Stevenson, NUT regional secretary for the Yorkshire Midland region and parent at the school, fiercely campaigned against the proposal.

He said: “It’s a good decision. I think that they took the decision against a background of considerable pressure.

“I suppose the more and more secondary schools you try and convert, you will eventually reach some that do not want to commit.”

Mr Stevenson was against the school becoming an academy because he feared it would mean less funds and warned it could lead to rules and management being changed.

But he said things have now turned around which has helped make people feel safer on a night out.

“Things are a lot better,” he said. “It’s definitely cut down on crime and had a big influence on alcohol-related incidents.”

Part of Pubwatch means pictures of people who are banned from pubs are circulated among licensees.

Paul Horton, the force’s County South Licensing Officer, nominated Mr Murphy for the award, and accompanied him on a trip down to London to receive it at the National Pubwatch Conference on Tuesday.

He said: “Mr Murphy has put in many years of work in relation to Pubwatch and has worked together with us and our partners to raise the profile and membership of Pubwatch, including setting up the Pubwatch radio scheme and website, as well as pro-active interaction with the media in raising awareness of the dangers and consequences of alcohol-related violence.

“He has taken the role very seriously and done it tirelessly without prompting from anyone.

“All his work has been done on a voluntary basis, without payment, with one goal in mind, to provide a safer community within the area he lives and he deserves commending for the work, enthusiasm and commitment he puts into the role.”

Eastwood’s new inspector Charles Jardine said Mr Murphy’s accomplishment was ‘commendable’ and he looked forward to meeting him on his rounds.

“It’s very, very commendable,” added Insp Jardine.

“He has obviously conducted this over many years to support the people that live here and the local licensees, making the area a much safer place to live.

“I’ll look forward to meeting him when I have a walk through the pubs doing my meet and greet.”

Three years ago Mr Murphy was also awarded a Nottinghamshire Police Commendation for his services to Pubwatch and the wider community.

His latest award was presented by Frank Armstrong, the Assistant Commissioner of City of London Police.

The other winner of the national Pubwatch award was a landlady in London.