High school for girls bids for academy status

MIXED reactions greeted the news that one of Chichester’s biggest schools is bidding for academy status.

Chichester High School for Girls (CHSG) announced this week it is hoping to gain academy trust status by the start of the new academic year in September.

In a letter sent out to parents, chairman of governors Simon Elliott said: “This decision is based on a number of factors, but primarily to continue to ensure high-quality teaching and learning for all pupils.

“In making this decision, governors also took into account a formal notice from the county council regarding their concerns about the pace of improvement at the school and our drop in performance last year as a result of the national grade-boundary changes.”

The governing body agreed the school should become an academy at its meeting on January 15.

However, not everyone was happy about the move.

One concerned mother contacted the Observer to say they were ‘shocked’ by the news and thought the change deserved greater publicity.

“All I want is for my daughter to have the best educational opportunities and experience as possible, with rising standards and performance,” she said.

In a statement, Mr Elliott said: “Governors believe converting will provide more opportunities for staff support and development, 
increase challenge and accountability for the governors and be a good strategic move for the wider Chichester community.

“The governors believe this is a positive step made at the right time for CHSG.”

Governors will be at a coffee morning on February 12 to answer parents’ questions about the change. An academy page has also been set up on the school’s website.

Mr Elliott said governors would be interviewing partners over the next few weeks.

There were mixed reactions from Observer readers to the news.

Some felt it would make no difference to the overall experience at the school.

“Such a waste of money,” said Victoria Hilditch. “Spend a bomb of our tax money and same kids go there and same teachers teach there, only difference is they have nicer facilities.”

Stacey Burgess agreed saying: “What difference is it going to make?”

Chloe Watson said: “Unless there is a massive overhaul of staffing and the current teachers are replaced, I doubt it will make much difference.”

Others said there was a need for a ‘complete overhaul’ but worried academy status was simply ‘papering over the cracks’.

However, some felt academy status could improve teaching standards at the school.

The Observer was unable to confirm whether Chichester High School for Boys intends to become an academy.