Academy proposed

Featherstone Technology College is in the process of converting to a sponsered academy as part of a government initiative to give extra help to failing schools. L-R Camilla Kasza,Amber Summers,Liam Stanley,Megan Darbyshire,Jordan Roscoe,Demi Summers,Adam Turner,Tyler Gamban and Piotr Filipek with Principal Wayne Parkes.
Featherstone Technology College is in the process of converting to a sponsered academy as part of a government initiative to give extra help to failing schools. L-R Camilla Kasza,Amber Summers,Liam Stanley,Megan Darbyshire,Jordan Roscoe,Demi Summers,Adam Turner,Tyler Gamban and Piotr Filipek with Principal Wayne Parkes.

FEATHERSTONE Technology College has announced plans to convert to sponsored academy status from September.

College principal Wayne Parkes said governors voted last month in favour of the government project, which aims to support and improve underperforming schools.

He welcomed plans to work alongside a company in order to help maintain the college’s recent GCSE success which he said put it in the top two per cent of schools nationally.

Mr Parkes said: “It’s about the future of the school and it’s the youngsters that matter – we want to be a high performing school whether that’s with the local authority or a sponsor.

“Historically the school has been underperforming for a considerable amount of time despite improving exam results.

“This is about sustainablility and it’s an opportunity to work collaberatively with education experts. I’m happy as long as it brings out the desired outcome for our youngsters.”

The Pontefract Road college – which has 440 students – is lined up to go into sponsorship with one of the country’s leading education groups, E-ACT.

The company supports academies and free schools through a Deparment for Education inititiative and has a track record for improving underperforming and failing schools.

Sir Bruce Liddington, director general of E-ACT, said: “Our education and academy project teams will work closely with the college and governors to get to the next step.

“Then we will enter into public consultation on the plans. We all have one objective and that is to build on the positive ethos at the college and turn it into an outstanding academy.”

Mr Parkes said in Featherstone the percentage of youngsters not in education, employment or training (NEETS) was at about 12 per cent.

He said: “To change the cycle in Featherstone, we have to start with education, and now we’ve got the support and the drive for it.

“The staff are over the moon that they’ve got good exam results but we want to build on that, and we will have that support with E-ACT.”