Castle School academy bid approved by Secretary of State
THE CASTLE School’s bid to become an academy has been approved by the Secretary of State.
The secondary school in Thornbury opted out of the local authority and adopted academy status after the Department for Education backed its application to receive funding directly from government earlier this month.
The school, which has more than 1,700 students, is now run by the newly-created Castle School Education Trust, and enjoys much more autonomy and control over its governance.
Head teacher Melanie Warnes said the move to the academy model heralded the beginning of a new era for Castle School.
"This is a historic day in the history of Castle School as we step out into our new future," she said. "Being an academy affords us more freedom and autonomy but of course it also brings more responsibility and accountability."
She added: "For parents, students and staff the change means very little since we have not gone through the process in order to make fundamental changes. It is more the options and freedom we have for the future. "We look forward to sharing our excellence with new partner schools".
Although many establishments choose to make the transition alone, the secondary school adopted the governance change in a joint venture with one of its longest-standing partners, Downend School.
A formal collaboration has been set up with Downend School which was also allowed to convert to the academy model.
Linda Ferris, assistant head teacher at Castle School, added: "Whilst there has been much that Castle School has provided Downend with, working with other schools is always a benefit to Castle School. It’s great to see the Department for Education formally recognise this as part of the academy process".
The work between Castle School and Downend School had previously been recognised by the Department for Education in 2010.
The school achieved record-breaking GCSE results and A Level results last years rocketing to the top of the regional league tables.
Chairman of governors, Stuart Hill, said: "This is an exciting and significant moment in the school’s history which enables us to build on our success and enables us to face a rapidly changing world with full confidence in the Castle School brand".