Proposals to establish two new Isle of Wight Academies on the sites of the current Ryde High and Sandown High Schools have been officially confirmed with the signing of a Funding Agreement by Lord Hill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools.
The Government approval is the final decision required to create the two new 11- 18 secondary schools sponsored by the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) following a major school reorganisation exercise approved by Isle of Wight Council in October 2009. These schools will open in September 2011, alongside three non-academy schools in Cowes, Medina and Carisbrooke.
Ryde Academy will admit 210 students in each year and Sandown Bay 330. The admission number for Ryde is expected to rise to 270 from September 2013 at the earliest. The new establishments will bring together the existing school communities from the high schools and years 7 & 8 of the neighbouring middle schools, which close this summer.
Ian Foster, Chairman of the Academies Enterprise Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received the final approval and we shall continue to do everything we can to ensure there is a smooth transition to establish two new and successful schools which will provide every student with an outstanding education.”
The Isle of Wight Academies will considerably benefit from successful and proven new ways of teaching and learning which have significantly raised standards in the four AET Essex Academies and which, since September 2010, have been introduced to a new Academy in west London and the first two co-sponsored Mayor’s Academies in north London. Mr Foster is keen to stress that the most successful ways of working at the current Ryde High and Sandown High Schools will continue, along with best practice from ‘feeder’ middle schools also being incorporated. The day to day management in each Academy will be carried out by the Headteacher and a local Board of Governors.
Close co-operation with the local school communities and other key stakeholders on the Island have been a top priority and will continue when the new Academies are established. Names for the new Academies were decided through a major consultation exercise with the two secondaries and their ‘feeder’ middle schools. This has been extended to create designs for the Ryde and Sandown Bay Academy logos with nearly 100 being currently being considered. A key element in the local consultations has been two Stakeholder Reference Groups for the new Academies established in November, comprising representatives from teaching staff (including middle and primary schools), governors, students and local councils.
David Pugh, Isle of Wight Council Leader said: “This is the next major step as we continue to move forward with the school reorganisation project on the Isle of Wight. With the funding agreement now approved by Lord Hill, the local community as well as staff and indeed parents and pupils can look forward to a new era of secondary educational provision in Ryde and the Bay area from September. “It is also pleasing that the two Stakeholder Reference Groups that consist of a broad range of representatives are playing a key part in the future of the two academies in Ryde and Sandown.
“It is very important that representatives who will all be part of the school community, such as students, teachers, local residents and councillors etc, provide feedback on the decision making process and are given the opportunity for debate and discuss the process ahead of this coming September. We have seen a notable uplift in our GCSE results this summer and the challenge for the academies is to significantly build on this improvement.”
The Academies Enterprise Trust was selected by the Isle of Wight Council in 2009 as the approved sponsor of new Academies at the current Ryde High and Sandown High Schools with effect from September 2011.
All Academies established by the Secretary of State for Education enter into a contract – or funding agreement – with the Academy sponsor. Ryde High School and Sandown High School will close with effect from 31 August 2011.
The Board of Governors will be accountable to the AET Board. Plans are currently being made to create a local improvement board with representatives from the Isle of Wight Council and from local businesses; as well as formal ways of working with the Council to fulfil its scrutiny role. Close co-operation will be maintained between the AET, Isle of Wight Council and other headteachers to ensure a ‘whole Island approach’ to secondary education.
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