Governors' new proposal for Holywells

GOVERNORS at an Ipswich school under threat from becoming an academy have come up with their own proposal for the future of the school.

GOVERNORS at an Ipswich school under threat from becoming an academy have come up with their own proposal for the future of the school.

Staff and pupils made their feelings clear to The Evening Star in October that academy status would not be welcome at Holywells High. Now a document has been submitted to education chiefs emphasising the school's desire for trust status, which would help Holywells meet government education requirements without posing a threat to staff pay and conditions.

As revealed last month, if Holywells becomes an academy, staff contracts will be automatically renewed under transfer of undertaking regulations, unless their employment is terminated for an economic, technical or organisational reason, and some senior staff may also have to reapply for jobs.

Suffolk County Council has made clear its preference for Holywells becoming a Church-sponsored academy and requested the school put forward an alternative that met the agreed criteria of raising standards, but school governors are confident that objectives can be achieved without the imposition of academy status.

As a trust school, Holywells would be advised on running the school by a charity consisting of local education, community and business leaders, enabling it to work with big business and use outside expertise. Now the school must wait for the council to examine and consider the proposal.

Elsewhere, in Derby, a similar dilemma is emerging. Teachers at Sinfin Community School have taken industrial action on four occasions against a six-week city council consultation over closing the school and reopening it as an academy.

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All of the pupils at Sinfin have signed a petition to prevent it becoming an academy and pupils at Holywells are prepared to act in the same way.

Sixth former vowed in October to fight the council's preferred church-sponsored option - now, student

Rhiannon Williams has revealed she is ready to go about collecting signatures.

The 17-year-old said: “I would be happy to start a petition against the school becoming an academy and I know I would have enough support.

“At least 50 sixth formers are against it and I'm sure parents other pupils would sign as well.

“Lots of people from outside the school have also told me that no one wants it to go ahead.”

Do you support the school's alternative proposal? Would you sign the petition opposing academy status? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk