Major change for schools in Royston

ROYSTON’S school system looks set for a major change as plans to form an academy or federation in the town get underway.

Middle schools Roysia and Greneway and upper school Meridian sent out letters to parents on Monday notifying their intention to create a stronger link between the schools.

Academy status would mean they are free from county council control, have one governing body and receive more funding, while a federation means they will link together but remain under authority of Herts County Council.

Head teachers from the schools have said the move will allow more flexibility over teachers, could give power to set curriculum and will cement a stronger relationship between them.

Meridian head Dr Peter Firth said: “This will form a better working relationship between the schools, but as we had that to start with we are half way there.

“We have joint curriculum activities, joint staffing, and we share staff between our schools so there’s a logic really to take it to just that further level.

“It gives us a little bit of flexibility, which in county setting is difficult because you’re in a big organisation.”

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Roysia head Zoe Linington agreed that the move was a natural progression.

“We want to work together and share our expertise,” she said. “The two other heads and myself don’t talk about kids in our own schools, we refer to them as ‘Royston kids,’ so it seems like a logical step.”

Miss Linington also said the schools would have more power over what the children were taught.

“As we might be free from local authority control, we wouldn’t have to follow the national curriculum. We can change it to better suit the kids from Royston now if we want.

“However I think it will largely stay the same, as they have to take nationally set exams anyway.”

Greneway head Sue Kennedy was keen to stress that although the schools will have one governing body, they will each retain their individual identity.

She said: “Children will still go to the different schools, where different uniforms and there will be separate logos.

“The admissions policy and the way the schools are at the heart of the communities will remain too, but there will be one governing which will bring together expertise from each school.”

Recent nationwide changes mean that schools rated by Ofsted as ‘Good’ can apply for academy status.

Greneway and Roysia were already both legible due to their ‘Outstanding’ status , but as a ‘Good’ school, Meridian haven’t been up until now.

The letter sent out to parents said that schools could receive approximately �200,000 more than they are currently getting, if they switched to academy status.

A Herts County Council statement said: “Parents of children at Meridian, Roysia and Greneway Schools are being consulted on whether they should become a federation under control of the county council or a multi-school academy.

“We will respect the outcome of the consultation and continue to promote high educational standards for all children in Hertfordshire, whether this be through local authority support offered to the schools under our control, or by helping to ensure a smooth transition to the new academy arrangements and to guarantee best use of financial resources.”

The changes will come into play from September, pending the consultancy.