Steyning Grammar School agrees to join Bohunt academy trust

The governors of Steyning Grammar School have agreed to apply for academy status and join a multi-academy trust.

In a meeting yesterday (March 11), governors voted unanimously in favour of applying to join Bohunt Education Trust, following a short consultation process.

Despite coming under fire from the National Education Union (NEU), which represents many of the school's teachers, the governors decided to continue with academisation plans.

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Chairman of the governing body, Sue Gearing, said: "It will be a privilege to work with a trust whose ethos and drive matches that of Steyning Grammar School and we look forward to working together to provide the very best education to all our young people."

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Bohunt Education Trust is formed of seven schools, including Bohunt Worthing, and a sixth form.

The trust's leader, Neil Strowger, said Steyning Grammar was an 'exceptional school' and its 'amibition and vision for unparalleled opportunity and exellence reflects that of Bohunt Education Trust'.

"We are thrilled this move has received such positive support from parents, staff, students and the wider school community and look forward to continuing to work together," he said.

A petition to block the academisation has received more than 360 signatures in less than a month, with many teachers and parents questioning the need to move to an academy trust.

Opposing parents and teachers have argued joining the Bohunt trust would not provide any additional funding compared to current local authority levels.

It would be ‘irresponsible’ to risk the school’s 400-year history, they argued, by joining the academy and taking autonomy away from parents.

Fears have also been raised around academies’ recruitment processes. As they are not bound by governmental regulations, they can hire unqualified teachers drafted in to teach standardised curriculums.

The petition called on the governors to ‘halt the damaging plans to privatise our community school and hand it over to a multi-academy trust’.

Ms Gearing said she had met with the NEU's regional and local representatives to discuss their position prior to yesterday's vote.

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