A Brighton primary school which has been told to become an academy is still in talks with two potential local sponsors.
Brighton and Hove City Council has also been involved in the negotiating process. The council’s Green administration opposes academies in principle. But having been given no choice about Whitehawk Primary becoming an academy, the council is trying to ensure the school ends up as an academy with a public sector sponsor.
The governing body of City College – known as the corporation – met earlier this week and agreed to continue talks with a view to becoming one of the sponsors.
Phil Frier, the principal of City College, said: “We were approached in March along with the University of Brighton to find a local community solution to sponsoring Whitehawk Primary School, after the Department for Education decided that it had to become an academy.
“The college already has a successful campus at City College East in the Whitehawk area with over 1,200 students based there and also works with adults in that part of the city to help people develop the skills to return to work.
“There are many good things going on at the school, and with us already working in Whitehawk it is natural that we would want to see how we could support the local primary school and the community in Whitehawk.
“The solution that is being explored is to develop a model of academy sponsorship which closely aligns the school with the public service values and educational mission of City College and the University of Brighton.
“This is quite a different approach to the private sector led sponsorship arrangements that are being developed elsewhere.
“Obviously, the college wants to play its part in helping improve children’s chances of success in Whitehawk and we are heartened that the University of Brighton with its national reputation for training primary school teachers is also involved in these ongoing discussions.
“A meeting of the City College Brighton and Hove Corporation earlier this week agreed ‘to support the further investigation of the legal, financial and educational requirements to achieve academy sponsorship and continue to work with the University of Brighton and Brighton and Hove City Council with regard to the potential for sponsorship of Whitehawk Primary School’.
“The timeline set by the Schools Commissioner and the Department for Education is for the school to become an academy at the beginning of the school year in September 2013.
“So there is plenty of time to consult and make the right decisions to ensure that the recent improvements in standards in teaching and learning already under way at Whitehawk Primary School are sustained and further improved over the long term.”