The county council cabinet member for education has signalled all schools in West Sussex are expected to become academies or free schools.
Conservative Peter Griffiths spoke at a children and young people’s services select committee this afternoon (Thursday, January 17) in which a petition calling for the county to scrap its support for academies was put to members.
The measure from West Sussex Academy Watch, which formed in the wake of concerns over Worthing High School’s conversion to an academy status, was rejected by the council. More than 500 people had signed the petition, which saw a series of three staff strikes against the move and fears voiced over the lack of formal public debate on the merits of becoming an academy.
Mr Griffiths responded to the petition (presented by group member Scott Maynard) and expressed his view that the 27 schools to have so far become academies with the county had been successful. While stating there would be no pressure placed on schools regarding timetables for conversion, he felt supporting Michael Gove’s programme of academy expansion was the right policy within the county.
He said: “One in five children in the county are now going to academies and I am confident that we will see similar success with future academies in realising improvement in education. One day all schools will be academies or free schools.”
Do you think all schools should become academies? - email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, January 19 or post a comment below. See full story in the next edition of the Worthing Herald (Janury 24).