29/01/2014 - Permalink

Sir John Talbot’s school in Whitchurch to apply for academy status

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Sir John Talbot’s Technology College in Whitchurch could become an academy in time for the 2014/15 school year, after The Marches School in Oswestry agreed to sponsor the school’s application for academy status.

In March 2013, The Marches School was approached by Shropshire Council to provide support to Sir John Talbot’s – delivering leadership and the required improvements while a permanent solution was found for the future of the school.

The school is currently under the control of the Interim Executive Board (IEB) and the associate headteacher from The Marches School, David O’Toole, who has been seconded to Sir John Talbot’s as headteacher until August 2014.

The IEB will now apply to the Department for Education for Sir John Talbot’s to become a sponsored academy, with The Marches Academy Trust as sponsor.

This is a complex process but with the required support from the Department for Education and Shropshire Council, the plan would be for Sir John Talbot’s to convert to an Academy by September 2014.

As sponsor, The Marches would continue to provide advice and support to Sir John Talbot’s, having already achieved high standards in behaviour, pastoral support, lesson monitoring and staff development.

The leadership of the school was praised by Ofsted inspectors during a monitoring visit in September 2013, noting that the school has made ‘rapid and sustained progress’. Last summer, students made history and achieved the school’s best-ever GCSE results, leading to Sir John Talbot’s being named the most improved school in Shropshire in the January 2014 GCSE league tables.

Kate Campion, chair of the Interim Executive Board (IEB), said:

“The IEB at Sir John Talbot’s is delighted that following the excellent league table improvements by the school in 2013, announced last week, there is more good news.

“The school is working very closely with Shropshire Council and with the leadership team of The Marches and a strong and successful relationship has developed which has accelerated improvement at Sir John Talbot’s.

“The IEB is pleased with this outcome as not only is the solution a Shropshire solution; it is also a north Shropshire solution and strengthens the quality of education in the area”

Ann Hartley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s service, said:

“After celebrating excellent GSCE results, this is more good news for Sir John Talbot’s. We want SJT to become the school of choice for all 11-18 year olds in Whitchurch and its surrounding area, and to make sure the pupils are getting the very best education opportunities possible. The Marches Academy Trust’s application to become a sponsor for the school is a very important development in helping us to do this.”

Sarah Longville, headteacher of The Marches School, said:

“In the short time that we have worked collaboratively with the IEB, staff, students, Shropshire Council, and the local community at Sir John Talbot’s, we have been able to make a substantial impact. There is a drive nationally towards collaboration between schools and by sponsoring Sir John Talbot’s, this will enable us to continue to build on these developments and provide the school with the support and stability it needs to thrive.”

Further information

  • Many academies across the country currently operate within an academy trust structure and are testament to the benefits that working collaboratively brings.
  • Sponsored academy status is designed for ‘underperforming’ schools where action is needed to raise standards.
  • Sponsored academies are supported by an academy sponsor.