Principal’s morale booster as Exmouth school becomes an academy

STAFF at Exmouth Community College are looking forward to a bright new chapter in the school’s history after being given the green light to become an academy.

The college, one of the largest secondary schools in Europe, has received confirmation from the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove MP, in approving a change of status.

As of April 1, it will make the shift to an academy from a former specialist maths and computing school.

Responding to the news, principal Tony Alexander said: “We are committed to every child’s education in our catchment area.

“We believe that academy status is an excellent opportunity to build on, and maintain, the outstanding education that is provided at the college and develop further the opportunities for all of our students.”

As part of a coalition Government plan outlined in the Queen’s Speech last year, Michael Gove MP wrote to all primary and secondary schools inviting them to apply to become academies.

In becoming an academy, the Exmouth school will be able to manage all of its own funding.

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Like city technology colleges, having such status allows it to become more independent of the local education authority.

A spokesperson for the governors said having academy status would bring major benefits.

“It will allow greater flexibility with regard to the curriculum to improve opportunities for students,” she said.

“There will be some increase in funding and a greater control over the budget which will improve education for our children and the wider community.”

The spokesperson added: “It brings freedom from LEA control to reduce the burden of bureaucracy and focus on teaching and learning.

“Professionals who know the students best will be at the centre of the decision-making process.”

As an academy, Exmouth Community College will not change its name.

The school will be managed by an Academy Trust, made up of the existing governing body, operating much as it does now. Parents and other members of the community will continue to be represented on the body.

All of the college’s staff will be employed by the body in the form of the new trust and there will be no changes to their pay and conditions.

The day-to-day running of the school will continue under the leadership of the principal, Tony Alexander.

The college is also committed to maintaining and developing links with feeder schools.

East Devon MP Hugo Swire said: “This is extremely exciting for the college.

“So far, 204 academies have been granted. It is particularly good news for the head, Tony Alexander, who is recovering in hospital (after being involved in a car crash) and I hope this will boost his recovery.

“It is brilliant news for the kids and good news for the town.”