The news was officially made public in a joint statement released by the school’s headteacher, Kathrine Nutting, and the governing body on Friday.
The statement said: “Like a number of schools across Bradford, the governing body of Oxenhope CE Primary School is currently exploring the possibility of the school converting to academy status.”
“As a Church of England school, if this were to go ahead, our preferred choice would be to join the Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust (BDAT), which we feel would maintain and strengthen our existing links with our family of church schools within Bradford.
“Oxenhope is a ‘good’ school [Ofsted report, December 2014] and we are exploring this option in order to enable us to maintain and develop the existing good provision within the school.
“As part of the process, the next steps are more advanced conversations with the Department for Education, the diocese and the parents and local community.”
The potential changes at Oxenhope Primary were brought up at last Wednesday evening’s Oxenhope Parish Council meeting.
Chris McManus, a parent of a child at the school, said: “Becoming an academy might be a good thing. But does it have to be done now – have all options been looked at and is this the right trust to go with?
“The meeting proposed to discuss this should be a consultation with parents, rather than just about providing information to parents. It should also not just be a meeting with a representative from the trust. There should be a chance for parents to speak to the headteacher and governors without the trust representative being present, and we’d like someone from the parish council to come to the meeting.”
Worth Valley ward councillor, Rebecca Poulsen, who was also at the parish council meeting, said: “Most parents will simply want to know what are the benefits for their child?”
Academies are publicly funded independent schools, with greater freedom abut the education they offer their pupils as they do not have to offer the national curriculum.
They still have to follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools, and are still assessed against the same Government standards and inspected by Ofsted.
BDAT was set up in 2012 to support and sponsor Church of England academies in Bradford district on behalf of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.
The trust is a charity and company limited by guarantee, governed by a board of trustees that oversees the management of the company.
Its mission statement is ‘to provide education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice’.
(Photo credit: Keighley News)
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