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Bradford, Bingley, West Bowling, Queensbury and Long Lee schools express interest
Ten schools across Bradford have expressed an interest in becoming academies.
Last month Education Secretary Michael Gove wrote to every school in the country and invited them to come forward and register their interest in seeking academy status.
At the time, he vowed to fast track schools rated outstanding by Ofsted, allowing them to re-open as academies in September.
Yesterday, after a Freedom of Information request, the Department for Education (DfE) published a list of 828 schools ranked as outstanding that had expressed an interest.
It included Newby Primary, West Bowling. Myrtle Park Primary, Bingley, Grange Technology College, Bradford, Shibden Head Primary, Queensbury, Long Lee Primary, Keighley, and Copthorne Primary, Bradford.
The DfE stressed the schools had only expressed an interest, rather than formally applied, but said officials could begin discussions with schools keen to pursue academy status immediately.
Hundreds of other schools from across the country that were not rated outstanding also expressed an interest – including Coral College for Girls, M A Institute, Southmere Primary and Thornton Grammar, all in Bradford – but these are likely to have to carry out further work and secure improvements before they are granted the status, a DfE spokesman said.
Paul Burluraux, head teacher of Grange Technology College – which is in the process of being rebuilt under the Building School for the Future programme – said: “Grange has expressed an interest in Academy status, we have not applied to become an Academy.
“We have done this in order to gather information about the implications for our school.
“When we have this information, the Governors of the school will take a view on the potential value in looking at conversion and we would then begin a process of full consultation with our community about any possible benefits or disadvantages.
“Whatever the outcome, Grange would still be committed to working within a family of local schools, providing and supporting the highest possible quality of education for Bradford’s young people.”
The Government, which is removing local authority powers to block schools that want to become academies, is planning to oversee a dramatic expansion of the academies programme, which – under Labour – was focused on replacing struggling schools in poorer areas.
Academies can expect to receive roughly ten per cent more funding – direct from central Government – than they currently get from their local education authority, according to a DfE source.
They would also run their own finances, and curriculum, and could be managed by outside companies.
Academies Minister Lord Hill said yesterday: “There is no pressure for any school to convert by September, and they can do so at any time, when they feel they are ready.
“We want schools to decide what’s best for them, not politicians or bureaucrats.”