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St John’s School’s new status confirmed
7:00pm Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
The sign welcoming visitors to St John’s School in Marlborough is having to be be changed because it was confirmed this week that the school has finally achieved academy status.
The news was confirmed in a letter from the Education Secretary Michael Gove and a tweet from Devizes MP Claire Perry, who is a St John’s governor. Head teacher Dr Patrick Hazlewood said the school had “worked tirelessly” to help achieve the new status.
It has taken the school 18 months to get its application approved because it currently has an overdraft as a result of its ambitious £26million rebuilding programme.
Academy status will mean that St John’s will again be in complete control of its finances as it was from 1994-1999 when it was a grant maintained school.
When grant maintained schools became foundation schools in 1999, their finance was channelled by the government through Wiltshire Council, which retained eight per cent for administrative purposes. Now the school, said Dr Hazlewood, has regained control of its purse strings and, with its academy status, gets an extra £400,000 a year to further improve its facilities and teaching.
The news of the academy status, which will see the school signs amended from saying just St John’s School to St John’s School – an International Academy, comes two weeks after the best ever A-level results were announced on the heels of the best ever International Baccalaureate results announced in June.
This week’s green light from the Department for Education means that Dr Hazlewood can press ahead with plans to create what will be called Excalibur Acadamies Trust. This will be an umbrella organisation for St John’s School and Easton Royal School – which has been working in partnership with St John’s for three years and also achieved academy status this week – and any other local primary schools which want to take part.
St John’s academy application was held up, explained Dr Hazlewood, because schools with an overdraft cannot normally be considered, but he said that once it was explained that St John’s outstanding borrowing was as a result of its rebuild, the Department for Education agreed to overlook it.
The acquisition of academy status, said the head, was a clear indication to the world at large that St John’s was a progressive school with plans to move forward.
“This makes a clear statement that we are educating our children for a world in which they will need to be internationally educated so that they are ready to take their place in this world.”
Academy status also means St John’s can run its own curriculum but Dr Hazlewood said it had already been doing this. “In real terms there will be very little change,” he said.