LETTER: Academy the right thing?

I disagree with your columnist Ian Hart when he asserts that the conversion of Worthing High School to an academy was ‘clearly the right thing’ and ‘is the way forward in the education of our youngsters’.

Like Mr Hart, I served as a governor at a large Worthing school. During my tenure, the governing body considered conversion to academy but opted to remain under control of the local education authority. We took the view that any benefits offered by academy conversion were minimal when compared to the potential effects.

Through excellent leadership and the hard work of the staff, the school at which I was a governor progressed to achieve an Ofsted rating of ‘Good’ and is now considered to be one of the top-performing and improving schools in England. The pupils are adjudged by Ofsted to make ‘excellent progress during their time at the school and are well prepared for the future.’ Many academies in the UK are not improving, and some academy chains would appear to have serious management competency and financial problems.

I do not doubt that after some early problems Worthing High is now improving. I dispute that it is necessary to become an academy to achieve that progress. With the right leadership and dedication of staff that progress can equally be achieved without conversion – it is not ‘clearly the right thing’ or the only option for ‘the way forward’.

Peter Thompson

Ripley Road, Worthing

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