Midhurst Primary School head unveils plans for an academy

MIDHURST Primary School has unveiled proposals to turn itself into an academy under the sponsorship of United Learning – which became the sponsor of Midhurst Rother College amid controversy three years ago.

Headteacher Matthew Barnes outlined to parents the proposal to convert in January at a special meeting last week.

This was followed with a further letter to parents answering a raft of questions which had been raised.

Parents were given the chance to submit their opinions on the proposals.

Mr Barnes said the full governing body was due to meet today to ‘look at the questions, concerns and support to ensure we make the best decision for moving this forwards’.

He told the Observer the proposal came entirely from within the school and added: “Having been recognised by OFSTED as ‘good’ in our most recent inspection, the community at Midhurst C of E Primary have focused on seeking out ways to create an outstanding provision for our children.

“As part of this ongoing process, we have undertaken a lengthy review of the options available to us, one of which is gaining ‘academy’ status.

“We have approached a number of third-party providers and have visited a number of schools to learn from their practices and experiences.

“The results of this process have been discussed with all of our community stakeholders and upon the conclusion of these ongoing discussions, we will share more details on our agreed route.”

Mr Barnes has produced comprehensive answers on the school’s website to questions raise by parents.

He said there would be no change to the Church of England status of the school. “It is illegal to change your religious designation
by converting to 
an academy.”

He said United Learning would not ‘extensively’ be involved in policy 
formation ‘due to the fact we are a good school looking to convert under their sponsorship’.

He believed the proposal would give greater freedom to shape the curriculum, and said the school would continue to work with other Rother Valley Primary schools who were all aware of the proposal.

There were no plans to be selective about admissions.