THE HEAD teacher of a Fowey secondary school has spoken for the first time about its plans to become an academy.
John Perry, head teacher of Fowey Community College, told the Cornish Guardian that, as a sponsored academy the school would be supported by David Hopkins, a former chief adviser on school standards to the Secretary of State. The new status would mean Fowey receiving investment and support to improve. This would come from the Adventure Learning Academy Trust, of which Mr Hopkins is the figurehead.
Should the school be successful in its bid to become an academy, it would see the school leave the control of Cornwall Council, with the trust being able to make changes to the way it is run – including teachers' pay and the curriculum taught.
Mr Perry said the proposed conversion followed an Ofsted report, which last year judged the school as inadequate, although the school had undergone a huge transformation and inspectors had already signalled their confidence in it.
GCSE results at Fowey soared – a 20 per cent improvement – on the previous year, which Mr Perry said was "unheard of" even after acknowledging the "questionable data" which led to the low grades of 2012.
Mr Perry said: "When I go into lessons, I see really brilliant teaching by really brilliant teachers and brilliant students. We have to think about what's best for the kids and that is to get the best support, the best quality of education into the school and the county and in our view Adventure Learning Academy Trust offers just that."
"If we have got to be sponsored by anyone I want to be sponsored by the best and he (David Hopkins) is; we're really excited about that."
Adventure Learning Academy Trust's ethos is to drive both physical and intellectual risks, which will enable the children to grow, Mr Perry said. He said staff training would be based on 30 to 40 years of research into what makes a good teacher.
"In a year's time I would expect to see much more confident staff using a much wider variety of teaching styles. I expect to see students challenge more in lessons, not in terms of their behaviour, because their behaviour is very good, but that their expectation of their learning is to challenge."
The school must now await confirmation from the Department for Education (DfE).