School cannot progress alone

Sandy Upper School
Sandy Upper School

An upper school has been told it cannot convert to academy status without a sponsor.

After the Barnfield Federation’s sponsorship of Sandy Upper School fell through parents suggested that the school could do without another sponsor.

But the government has said this will not be possible as the school has not met the required Ofsted grading.

A letter sent to parents by Richard Banks, chair of governors, says: “We approached the Department for Education (DfE), including meetings at Westminster with Lord Nash, under secretary of state for education.

“Lord Nash and Michael Gove considered the option of converting as an academy without a sponsor and we have now heard that we cannot do this at the moment.

“However, following a meeting with the DfE on Thursday, April 3, we are now going to look at other local sponsors, along with their previously identified sponsor, to ensure we select the right one for us, who shares our vision for the future for our 

Stakeholders will be involved in the process but this means there will be a delay before the school converts to academy status, he wrote.

If the school’s Ofsted grading reaches the ‘good’ standard in the meantime then it will be allowed to convert without a sponsor.

Conversations are continuing to secure long term permanent leadership.

Sandy Upper School has also been visited by Ofsted again. Mr Banks reported back on the inspector’s conclusion.

He wrote: “The inspector emphasised that the school had made remarkable progress and that there was a feeling at school that anything is possible. He celebrated our aspirational culture.

“This is fantastic news for the school and it is down to the hard work and commitment of pupils, parents, staff, teachers and leaders.

“We are all determined to work together to ensure that the school comes out of special measures as soon as possible as a ‘good’ school.”

Mr Banks hopes that the school will then progress to the ‘outstanding’ grade.

He added: “The DfE and local authority agree that we have faced very exceptional circumstances over the last two years that have been out of our control. We are finally emerging from this. However we must not be complacent.”