A CITY school is to become an academy next month with governors at another school considering the option.
Governors of The Catholic High School, in Handbridge, approved the conversion of the school to an academy last week following extensive consultation with staff, parents, partner schools and the Diocese of Shrewsbury.
Neighbouring governors at Queen’s Park High School are currently in consultation with their stakeholders, with a decision due later next month.
The conversion of Catholic High School means that the school will be funded directly from central Government and not from Cheshire West and Chester Council, and will take effect from Friday, March 1. Its name will remain unchanged as will admissions policy and the provision for students with additional needs.
Speaking after the governors’ meeting at the Catholic High School, chairman Peter Devine said: “We have great ambitions for the students at our school, and great ambition for the school itself. OFSTED judged this school to be good, with outstanding aspects to its work. We want to move on now and make sure that we are aiming for an outstanding judgement next time the inspectors call.
“Becoming an academy is just part of this process. Central to this is the mission and ethos of our school as The Catholic High School here in Chester. Our school is and always will be an inclusive Catholic school.”
Headteacher John Murray added: “I am very grateful to the governors and the Diocese of Shrewsbury for their support in this process. Our staff were concerned about what would happen to them if we converted to an academy, and both the governors and the diocese have made it very clear that their terms and conditions are fully protected.
“Looking to the future I am really excited about what this can mean for our school. As teachers and governors we can set out our priorities and make sure we deliver the very best Catholic education for all our students.”
Director of schools for the Diocese of Shrewsbury, Alex Scott, said: “On behalf of Bishop Mark Davies and the trustees of the diocese I do wish the school every success in this venture, and we will do all we can to support the school in its continuing mission.”
Headteacher of Queen’s Park High School Stephen Casey said: “The decision to consider becoming an academy was taken by governors before Christmas and we are currently in consultation with all our stakeholders, which includes pupils, parents, staff and the local community.
“Over the last three years we have seen the number of students getting five good GCSEs rise from 47% to 61.
“Academy status would mean that we could tailor the curriculum to suit our students’ needs.
Stakeholders have until March 8 to comment on the Queen’s Park High School proposal.