Brentwood school chosen to demonstrate academy benefits
A Hutton school was chosen by the government to demonstrate the benefits of its academy programme.
St Martin’s School in Hanging Hill Lane was visited by schools minister Lord Jonathan Hill as the Recorder went to press yesterday (Thursday).
Lord Hill was due to be given a tour of the school by head teacher Mike O’Sullivan before he held a forum with schools from across Essex about becoming an academy.
Academies are State-funded schools which are not subject to local authority control.
Mr O’Sullivan said that the visit would be “a recognition of St Martin’s reputation in the local community that ministers are using the school as a beacon for its flagship policy”.
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The school has secured additional funding of �600,000 per year since it became an academy, cash which previously went to Essex County Council.
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He said: “St Martin’s now spends this additional funding on its own students to help meet their individual and collective needs.
“For example, one-to-one tuition has been extended to all students who are below their targets in English and Mathematics in years 10 and 11.
“The library has been completely restocked and refurbished, and all Year 7 students have started a reading scheme to enable their progress in reading to be monitored.
“The bulk of the additional funding will be used as capital to replace the school’s aging building stock.”
Lord Hill said: “Essex already has many excellent schools and is one of the parts of the country which has been leading the way on academy conversions.
“I want to make sure that all schools – and particularly primaries – have the information they need to decide whether or not academy status is for them.”
Alasdair Smith, from the Anti-Academy Alliance, warned that schools shouldn’t be encouraged to change.
He said: “Not all academies perform better, there is one in Dover which is now in special measures.
“This is privatising State education and creating markets. And when you have markets you have winners and losers.”