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February 2016: Larwood Lowdown, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 is available for download!
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The start of 2016 has already been noted for the rapid pace of change at Larwood. We have welcomed a small number of pupils and some new staff. Our revised Senior Leadership Team has been reviewing some key areas of our school policy and practice. This has included how we allocate points to pupils, our House system, improving attendance, and how we admit and transfer pupils to and from Larwood. However, we can’t keep pace with the number of storms we seem to be experiencing and ‘Imogen’ is currently making an impression as I write these notes. Having said that so did Abigail, Barney, Clodagh (Clo-da), Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude and Henry!
As part of our schools future development, the governing body, alongside the staff have reviewed our current school status (Foundation) and how things may change during the next few years. You may be aware that as part of the current government’s election manifesto, they have made it clear that ‘Free’ Schools and Academies would be encouraged during their tenure. As part of this process, the governing body have decided to start the process of consultation related to Larwood School becoming an Academy. There has been extensive discussion on this matter as it will equate to a lot more work during the next few months. However, at this stage the perceived benefits of such a move are as follows:
- An increased level of autonomy with regards to the future direction of the school
- A natural step for us having already become a Foundation school
- Greater responsibility in ensuring the best, and most financially efficient ways of securing services to the school
- We would be an independent, state funded school rather than a local authority funded school
- There is greater freedom with regards to the curriculum and its application
- In a similar way to having Foundation Status, the Governing Body will continue to be the employer, and have responsibility for health and safety
- You can become your own admissions authority, however, this is not something that the governing body are considering at this point; and
- The ability to strengthen our work within Stevenage and the wider locality for pupils and other schools that may benefit from it
I think that the main question every parent would probably want to ask is ‘how will this affect my child’s education?’ In short, they would not really notice the difference as much of the above would not be seen by them. However, they may, in due course experience an adjusted curriculum and/or benefit from savings made in the securing of services usually bought from the Local Authority. One thing should be a constant in all of this process and that is that the quality of education provided to your child remains excellent. Please note that a separate letter relating to this matter will follow and there will be an opportunity to ask any questions you have on the matter in a variety of ways.
In the meantime, let’s hope we do not see storm Jack!