Creativity at new academy

Knottingley High School has turned into De Lacy Academy. Vice Pricipal Gareth Mason and pupils with some mosaics that they have made.
Knottingley High School has turned into De Lacy Academy. Vice Pricipal Gareth Mason and pupils with some mosaics that they have made.
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PUPILS have used their creative talents to help celebrate the transformation of Knottingley High School to De Lacy Academy.

Youngsters have designed ceramic mosiacs to be installed on the walls in the school, which was relaunched as an academy at the start of this month.

Gareth Mason, vice-principal, said: “We are delighted to have been successfully transformed into an academy and decided to change so we could have an even a freer hand to do what is right for our pupils and staff.

“We made the change over the last four months and it has been a lot of fun. Pupils have been involved at all levels, with groups of students deciding on different areas of change, including the new school name and redesigning the school badge and school tie.

“All pupils were involved in making the mosaics which will be part of the academy for many years to come.”

Converting to an academy gives a school the ability to set its own pay and conditions for staff and its own term lengths, retain greater control of its budget and enjoy freedom from the national curriculum.

Once a school has become an academy it cannot return to local authority control for seven years, though the council may still provide some services in the meantime, such as catering.

Knottingley, Airedale, Castleford and Carleton High Schools were included in Wakefield Council’s successful bid for around £100m of improvements from the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative, but the scheme was axed in 2010 by education secretary Michael Gove.

Staff at Knottingley had hoped to replace the school’s 1960s building with new modern facilities.

Mr Mason added: “Even though the school narrowly missed out on being rebuilt when the BSF programme was cancelled, we have redesigned some of its classrooms.

“We have created large and flexible teaching spaces by knocking the walls down between several classrooms.

“We want to see our pupils motivated and above all enjoying their learning at De Lacy Academy.”