School’s future back on track


An upper school is hoping to secure a new sponsor to convert to academy status as the new academic year begins.

Last month the Department for Education pulled the Barnfield Federation (DfE) out of Sandy Upper School, throwing the school’s future into uncertainty.

Now the school has announced that governors , Central Beds Council and the DfE, are working with a new potential sponsor for the school, with the aim of converting on Monday, September 1.

The school said parents are showing “mass support” after attending a meeting last Thursday evening.

An announcement from the school states: “Parents voiced their support, celebrating the rapid turnaround in results, teaching and discipline that has been achieved since the school’s new leadership was secured.

“There was unanimous agreement that the headteacher, Balraj Hare, and her team have been instrumental in delivering these changes at the school.”

Claire Burton, deputy director for academies and performance at the DfE, told parents that the “exceptionally unusual circumstances could not have been predicted” and the governing body had always had the children’s best interests at heart.

The DfE has given the school additional funding to secure strong school leadership until the academy conversion, after which the school will receive a post-conversion grant.

There are no plans to change the curriculum or the uniform. Students can continue to wear their existing uniform and new items will be unbranded.

The school states that it is still in the Ofsted category of concern but that inspectors’ reports say it is making exceptional progress.

In a letter to parents the school described how standards for pupils gaining five A* to C GCSEs including maths and English fell from 51 per cent in 2010 to 39 per cent in 2012, when then headteacher, David Stevinson, handed in his immediate resignation.

But the 48 per cent pass rate in 2011 had already “rung serious alarm bells,” leading to a collaboration with Harlington Upper School.

The school later partnered up with Barnfield, intending to convert to academy status in June 2013, but this was delayed by poor Ofsted results.

Results shot up to 54 per cent in the examinations last summer.

Parents can send questions to askthegovernors@sandy