Mixed reaction to college Academy plan

There has been a mixed reaction to the shock announcement that Caedmon College is planning to become an academy within a year of its merger.

At the end of last term the College (a merger between the former community college and Caedmon Schools) announced to parents it was consulting on proposals to seek Academy status - and break free from local authority control.

The school says academy status would allow for greater freedom with delivering the curriculum, more funding and more control over staff pay and conditions.

However, it the potential implications for staff that concern local union reps.

English teacher Chris Firth is the president of the Whitby branch of NASUWT.

He told the Gazette: “The headteacher and governors are doing what they think is best for Whitby.

“There are pros and cons as far as I am concerned as the union rep.

“It is the staff changes that set alarms ringing. If they can set and alter conditions then that could be detrimental to staff.

“I know they don’t plan to change anything radically but who knows what will change in two years.”

At national level the criticism of plans is more scathing.

Chris Head, NASUWT secretary and Paul Busby, secretary of the NUT in a joint statement expressed concern about there being no local government responsibilty or accountability and the school, campus, facility and ground assets, which belong to local taxpayers, being handed over at no cost to a self interest group.

They said: “The conversion of Caedmon College would take it back to the days before the 1870 Education Act when schools were built and run by various churches and charitable self interest groups.

“This educational malaise was logically rejected in favour of a superior, unified, universal system of education for the nation.

“Why turn the clock back to something that has been removed as far superior?”

On Tuesday and Wednesday appointments can be made with the principal to discuss plans and a public meeting is on Thursday at 8pm.