IAN HART: Academy move clearly the right thing

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

The three years I served as a governor at Worthing High School were informative, interesting and ultimately rewarding.

I especially recall the final meeting of my tenure, in 2012, when I had to literally drive through a picket line outside the school. Don’t worry, they did make a space for my car, but I was verbally abused as I parked up and made my way into the school building.

My crime? Previously publicly supporting, via this column, the proposal to move the school to an academy. And at that meeting the definitive vote was to be taken over the decision.

I’ve never really taken well to threats and abuse, and as a result had no intention of changing my position on the matter. The vote was taken, and a large majority voted in favour of becoming an academy.

Back then, I, along with a number of others, believed the move was the best thing for both the school in general but more importantly the pupils, both present and future.

Whilst I stood down that day at the end of my three-year term, I have kept in close contact with the school and its progress. It’s not been easy, a much-publicised departure of a previous head teacher left the new head, Caroline Dickinson, with a huge task.

Backed by the governing board, and teaching and support staff, she carried the whole process forward, later succeeded by current head, Pan Panayiotou, to the point they are now.

Last week, details of the September intake were released – significantly over-subscribed, a far cry from the days when there were still many spaces at Worthing High available right up to the start of the new school year.

This is testament to the fact that the academy system, with the correct leadership at the top of the organisation, is the way forward in the education of our youngsters. And I do often think, six years on from the picket line, how many of the baying mob’s children have benefited from the transition we voted for on that day?

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