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Number of schools turning into academies is 'worrying'
11:00am Monday 21st January 2013 in News
A TOP union offical has called the amount of schools converting into academies in Warrington ‘worrying’.
By April it is likely only one maintained school out of eight will remain under council control.
Appleton-based John Rimmer, former national president of the NASUWT, said: “The issue with academies is there is no accountability to the local community.
“You lose that family of schools that has made Warrington one of the most successful local authorities.
“Academies have ripped that up.
“It’s survival of the fittest and the weakest can just go hang themselves.
“There is no evidence that academies will raise standards.
“They are racially and socially divisive.
“The children that will suffer are from working class families.
“It’s very worrying and it’s very disconcerting.”
Lysander High School, on Insall Road in Padgate, and Great Sankey High School on Barrow Hall Lane, became the latest schools to open as academies on January 1.
They have joined Lymm High School, on Oughtrington Lane, as an academy.
Only a financial dispute between Culcheth High School, on Warrington Road, and Warrington Borough Council over an unpaid load has stopped it from converting.
It still intends to do so.
Conversion is also expected at three other schools in March and April.
They are William Beamont High School, on Long Lane in Orford, Penketh High School, on Heath Road, and Birchwood High School, on Brock Road.
It means only one maintained school - Bridgewater High School, on Hall Drive in Appleton - will remain under council control, along with three faith schools.
Pinaki Ghoshal, assistant director of children and young people’s services at the council, said the exodus will not impact on the ‘family’ of schools in the town.
He said: “The remaining four high schools have not expressed any intention to convert nor have any primary or special schools in Warrington.
“Those that have converted are continuing to engage positively with other schools, the local authority, and the family of Warrington schools continues to be strong. “Academies receive additional funding which was previously retained by the council.
“However, schools that have converted to become academies are choosing to purchase the majority of their services from us so we do not anticipate any impact on services to children or to schools.“