Parents have their say on new academy 'to raise standards'

PARENTS are set to be consulted on plans to convert a Church of England secondary school in Doncaster into an academy next year in a bid to raise the school's educational standards.

Doncaster Council is currently seeking views from all those who may have an interest in the proposals for Rossington All Saints School, including local residents, pupils and parents of children both at the secondary school and its feeder primary schools.

A public meeting will take place tomorrow evening and responses can also be submitted to Doncaster Council in writing.

The Schools Partnership Trust has already been selected to sponsor the school, and the organisation claims to have developed a "clear vision for the proposed academy, based upon high quality educational provision for families rooted in the local community."

Doncaster Council's cabinet member for children and young people, Andrea Milner, said: "I very much encourage all interested parties to give us their views on the academy proposals either through the school, by completing a response form or at our next open evening.

"Together with the school's governing body and the diocese of Sheffield, we fully support these new academy plans that have a significant focus on raising education standards, providing an excellent resource at the heart of the local community and creating a new future for Rossington."

The closing date for responses to the consultation is Tuesday, January 11.

A Doncaster Council spokesman said that all of people's views would be "taken into account and considered by cabinet before any final decision is made."

Representatives from both Doncaster Council and the Schools Partnership Trust will be available to meet members of the public and answer questions on the proposals at a meeting to be held at Rossington St Michael's primary school at 6pm tomorrow.

In a consultation document sent to parents, a Doncaster Council spokesman says of the academy plans: "By transforming education across Doncaster and continuing to raise standards, we can equip all our young people with the skills and knowledge they require to become successful learners and employable individuals.

"Academies will challenge traditional thinking on how schools are run to improve standards and deliver change."

The new academy at Rossington would have 750 places for children aged 11 to 16 and a 200-place sixth form.

Places would be guaranteed for all pupils currently at Rossington All Saints School.

The plans also include retaining the "Church of England character of the school" to promote "high-quality education in a Christian context".

The Schools Partnership Trust already runs De Warenne Academy in Doncaster, as well as Garforth Academy, South Leeds Academy and Green Lane Primary Academy in West Yorkshire.

The Trust said of Rossington All Saints School: "The school seeks to extend Christian principles and values into the way it conducts its daily lives and work at the school as staff and students, while also promoting these same values in its work with parents and the wider community.

"As a specialist sports college, the school is committed to opportunity and excellence for all – within the school, partner schools and the wider community.

"The specialism is a very strong feature of the school's work, that has been recognised as 'good' with many 'outstanding' features."

If the proposals are agreed by Doncaster Council, Rossington All Saints School would close on April 25 next year and the academy would open in its place the following day.

PIONEERING TEACHING

Doncaster is home to what was the first purpose-built academy in the region, Trinity Academy at Thorne.

The 20m school, built on the site of the former Thorne Grammar School, opened its doors in 2005 and doubled its GCSE pass rate in the space of a year.

This year 63 per cent of pupils achieved five good GCSEs, including English and maths, compared with 19 per cent five years ago.