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The headteacher of an ‘under-achieving’ school says change is ‘best of both worlds’
A Bradford school has become the first in the district to convert into a primary academy after it was approached by the Government because of its history of failing to meet its targets.
Ryecroft Primary Academy, which will officially open as an academy next week, has said the move will allow the school to get the “best of both worlds” as it worked with both the local authority and its sponsor, the Northern Education Trust (NET).
Headteacher Jayne Clarke said the Holme Wood school, which converted at the beginning of September, had joined the trust’s network to help improve achievement.
She said: “We are still part of the authority, in that all the children are Bradford children, so we get the best of both worlds, we get to remain part of Bradford and we get to work with a highly effective and forward thinking group of schools in partnership with our sponsor.”
Mrs Clarke said the school, which Ofsted judged “good” and “rapidly improving” in 2010, had recently opened for two-year-olds to prepare them for primary education.
Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford Council’s executive member for children’s services, said the Department for Education put the school “under pressure” when it suggested converting after failing to hit key stage two targets for a number of years.
He said: “We thought the school was working hard to improve its results – after those discussions with the DfE they agreed to become an academy.
“I feel it’s not the only way or the best way to improve results but the governors have made the decision and we are working with them to try and get the best outcomes for Bradford children.”
NET chief executive Roger Alston said: “The DfE spoke to Ryecroft before they spoke to us and said ‘we think you might benefit from academy status with a good trust’ and they went along with that.
“There’s a history of under-achievement at Ryecroft and nobody would deny that. However, at the moment, if we look at the performance now you can see some green shoots in Ryecroft and I think it’s going to be a big success.”
The school will be holding its official opening ceremony on Tuesday, October 16, when pupils will reveal a new outdoor sound system.