Banbury’s St Mary’s Primary School forging ahead with academy plans

St Mary's Primary School, Banbury NNL-170504-103050001
St Mary's Primary School, Banbury NNL-170504-103050001

St Mary’s Primary School in Banbury has taken the first steps towards joining a multi-academy trust as it held a public consultation to discuss the process on Tuesday.

The school has looked into a number of academisation alternatives, finally choosing the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) as their favoured option.

The ODST is a relatively new body having been formed in 2012. It as grown steadily and now encompasses 23 schools with eight more looking into the option of joining.

Presenting the case for becoming an academy at the consultation meeting were David Locke, chief operations officer, and Gordon Joyner, deputy director at ODST.

Mr Joyner said: “Education is going through a massive change at the moment and the school is looking to reposition itself.”

He said that the primary concern was the diminished funding that local authorities are able to allocate to each school which impacted on both staff and students.

He said that joining the ODST would allow for better management of the limited funding in addition to greater teacher resources, support and infrastructure management.

Victoria Woods, head-teacher at the school, said: “What we are worried about is St Mary’s; St Mary’s children, St Mary’s progress and St Mary’s outcomes.

“The day after we got a good OFSTED we lost every single bit of professional support from the local authority.

Mrs Woods added: “There is none there and there will be none statutorily there to support teachers, the outcomes of children or development of the curriculum.”

The public consultation on the process closes tomorrow (Friday). The next step would be to look into the finances and teacher contracts, draw up legal papers to be submitted to the Department of Education and wait for final approval.

This could take up to eight months and the school can remove themselves from the process at anytime before the legal papers are signed.