My daughters high school in the north of Thetford was combined with the other Thetford high school (in the south of the town) into a single Academy in September 2010. All of the advantages of being an Academy were given and despite a very low response, it was unanimously voted in favour of Academy status.
However, just weeks after becoming an Academy, with a shortfall in funding due to the spending review, the Governors announced plans to divide the schools into two schools by year (Junior and Senior) meaning pupils travelling in both directions across Thetford. Parents were not happy. Plans were then announced to close both schools and build a new single site Academy away from both schools!. Parents were furious.
Over the last 6 months parents have campaigned against the changes and have succeeded in a compromise. To move all of the pupils into one of the original schools.
Throughout this period, local and regional councils have denied any involvement, saying that the Academy is now independent. The Government has told us any complaints should be made to the Academy! The sponsor Governors are from out of town and do not represent the parents views.
I can see some financial benefit where a single school has gained Academy status, but there has been a history of closures when more than one school is involved. eg Furness Academy.
I want my story to warn other parents of the dangers of their school becoming an Academy.
For more info: www.thetford-academy.com