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Park House celebrates academy status

The Newbury secondary school has become the second school in West Berkshire to receive academy status

PARK House School in Newbury is celebrating its new status as an academy, becoming only the second school in West Berkshire to be allowed to take the step.

Park House School officially received academy status on Sunday, May 1 and will now have greater freedom from local education authorities, and more control over the selection of its school curriculum.

The school follows in the footsteps of Kennet School, Thatcham, which changed its status on April 1.

The headteacher of Park House School and Sports College, in Andover Road, Derek Peaple said he was “proud and delighted” to announce the school's coversion to an academy.

“This exciting development provides us with the freedom to offer even greater opportunities to students, staff and the community which we serve,” he added.

“What this will mean for pupils and parents is a greater chance to look at a wider range of learning opportunities and a chance to build greater links with other learning providers, including universities and business partners, and with the community.”

Having academy status means that the school will be directly funded by central government (the Department for Education) but is independent of local government control.

The school will have the ability to set its own staff pay and conditions and can also change the lengths of its terms and school days.

Academies are funded under the principle that they should receive the same level of per-pupil funding as they would receive from the local authority as a maintained school.

In addition, they receive top-up funding to meet additional responsibilities no longer provided for them by the local authority.

Apart from Park House and Kennet schools, several others in the district have indicated that they may apply for academy status, including Little Heath School, Tilehurst, Ramsbury Primary School, The Priory Primary School, Tadley, St Bartholomew's School, Newbury, The Downs School, Compton and Theale Green Community School.

Mr Peaple has indicated that the school's change of status would be celebrated with events to mark the transition, but he said that the list has not been finalised.

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