WIRRAL’S oldest surviving grammar school will cut free from town hall control and become an Academy in the New Year.
The impending new guise of Calday Grange, in West Kirby, means, as of January 1 next year, all of the borough’s grammar schools will be centrally-funded academies outside local authority control.
Confirming the Academy conversion, the school, which dates back to 1636, has pledged to retain its name and character.
And the move heralds a new direction for the school, which is keen to move on from the year-long suspension and eventual pay-off in May last year of former headmaster Andrew Hall.
His absence coincided with the school being stripped of its “outstanding” status by Ofsted who told governors, led by the now departed Margaret Twemlow, to restore “confidence” among parents and staff.
The school, now headed by Mark Rodaway, former principal of Wallasey secondary The Mosslands, said there were a number of benefits to becoming an Academy.
Parents were told in a letter “The move to Academy status will support the school’s vision to develop the very highest quality teaching, supported by effective use of technology, focused on having the very highest ambitions and aspirations for all our students”.
Academies can set their own curriculum, terms and conditions and have control over their purse strings.
The letter states that, as well as “some financial benefit”, the school should be eligible for “capital investment funding”.
Parents have been reassured that the new status will not bring radical changes.
The letter adds there will be no change in admission arrangements for new starters, its name will remain the same and applications for places will still be coordinated through the local authority.
The school also says there will be no change in student grants and 16-19 bursaries.
It adds: “Our responsibilities in relation to meeting the needs of students with special educational needs remain unaltered”.
The school has pledged to work with schools across the borough.
Mr Rodaway said: “The governing body and myself are excited about the future direction of the school in moving to Academy status. We will focus on providing the very best education for our students, meeting their needs and preparing them to make a positive contribution to the future economic prosperity of the country.”