County defends academy choice

Managers of Felixstowe's new �32 million school will not be allowed to make any profit from running it as an academy.

FELIXSTOWE: Managers of Felixstowe's new �32 million school will not be allowed to make any profit from running it as an academy.

Parents campaigning against the academy have claimed the Essex-based Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) will be running the school as a business for profit.

Graham Newman, county portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, said this was totally false.

“The fact is that academy sponsors have to be registered charities and therefore must abide by charity rules,” said Mr Newman.

“Therefore, if AET - in their capacity as an academy sponsor for Felixstowe - were to make any profit it would have to be reinvested into the school to support the education of the young people.”

AET had an excellent record of improving attainment for young people and education in Felixstowe needed action.

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“At the moment we are in the position where, in schools in some areas of Suffolk, the proportion of students achieving five GCSEs, including maths and English, is between two and three times higher than that obtained by young people in parts of Felixstowe,” said Mr Newman.

“This is not good enough, and what is more, the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) are well aware of this disparity.

“The whole purpose of their Building Schools for the Future investment is to ensure that young people receive the best possible education, and achieve their full potential.”

The council has been notified by DCSF officials that secretary of state Ed Balls has agreed, in principle, to support creation of an academy in Felixstowe. A final decision will be announced next year.

Campaign group Felixstowe Against an Academy School in the Town is protesting and running a petition against the decision.

Should Felixstowe have an academy? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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