Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Let Parents and Governors Decide the Future of Southampton's Schools

Head teachers, parents and governors all want their schools to be good schools. In the future they will be able to have greater autonomy and greater flexibility in shaping their own future.

The Government, backed by David Cameron's Conservatives is pushing forward with Trust School initiative.

Legislation to establish Trust schools is currently passing through Parliament and Royal Assent for the Education and Inspections Bill is expected in November 2006.

This is the backdrop against which Southampton's review of secondary school provision is being played out.

There are a number of compelling arguments for Southampton Schools to apply for Trust Status. An explanation of how Trust Schools work can be found
here, on the Department for Education and Skills website.

There are growing fears that the City Council plan to sell off the valuable playing fields at Grove Park and Millbrook schools. If these schools became Trust Schools they would be able to manage their own land and assets for the benefit of the community and of local children.

Also of particular importance to Southampton schools are the statistics that show that specialist schools are achieving higher standards at GCSE.

It is certainly worth Southampton Schools looking closely at the option of a Trust. Schools could apply individually or a group of schools in an area could apply together.

One key advantage of the Trust School option is that it would place parents and governors firmly in the driving seat.

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