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Stafford's Grove Primary School will become an academy

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: February 15, 2014

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A STAFFORD school in special measures for over a year will become an academy after governors voted in favour of the plans – following an ultimatum by education bosses.

Governors at the Grove Primary School and Nursery Unit in Highfields, last week voted in favour of pressing ahead with the plan, which could see it being sponsored by a business.

The Newsletter revealed last week the school was issued with an ultimatum by Staffordshire County Council that if it did not become an academy bosses would use powers to remove the governing body and replace them with an interim executive board.

The school was put into special measures following a damning Ofsted report in October 2012, which judged it inadequate.

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The news was met with major concern from parents, who rushed to support the school.

Since then the Grove has continued to be monitored by Ofsted inspectors but following the latest inspection the education authority stepped in amid concerns standards had not improved enough.

County councillor Ben Adams, cabinet member for learning and skills, said if a school was in special measures but there were no satisfactory signs it was improving, it would recommend the school became a sponsored academy.

Academy status means the school would be run by an academy trust and get funding direct from the Government rather than the council. Some are sponsored by businesses, universities, faith or voluntary groups. They do not have to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times.

Worried parents had launched a Facebook campaign in a last-ditch attempt to save the school from the status amid fears standards would drop under academy ownership.

But this week parent Paul Keeling, 45, of Rowley Grove, who has two children at the school, said they were disappointed.

Mr Keeling, a teacher himself who has worked within an academy, said: “We can only wait and see what happens now. From my own experiences of academies I have concerns. We had considered taking our children out of the Grove but we will wait and see how things go. My children love the school so we don’t really want to move them as they are settled.”

A county council spokesman said there would be a series of meetings over the next few months to move the academy status forward and to establish when exactly it was likely to formally change.

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