Five more secondary schools in Bristol head down academy route
FIVE more secondary schools have unveiled proposals to explore converting to academy status.
Two are Bristol schools: St Bede's Catholic College in Lawrence Weston and Henbury School.
The others are in South Gloucestershire: Bradley Stoke Community School, Patchway Community College and Brimsham Green School in Yate.
Two other Bristol secondaries, Cotham School and Bedminster Down School, are also investigating a possible switch.
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Other schools are thought to be looking at their options.
The city already has eight academies, while South
Gloucestershire has three and a fourth, Kingsfield School, is set to convert.
Two North Somerset secondaries, Backwell and Gordano, are thinking of making the switch.
Wyvern School in Weston-super- Mare is set to become the Hans Price Academy in May.
Both Kingsfield and Hans Price would join the Cabot Learning Federation, which at present comprises John Cabot Academy, Bristol Brunel Academy and Bristol Metropolitan Academy.
Education Secretary Michael Gove is keen for all schools, including primaries and special schools but not nurseries, eventually to become academies, receiving their funding directly from the Government.
Mr Gove says this will give them more freedom and flexibility than local authority-funded schools.
He said: "Academies provide a teaching and learning environment that is in line with the best in the maintained sector and offer a broad and balanced curriculum to pupils of all abilities, focusing especially on one or more subject areas (specialisms)."
A total of six Bristol primaries are so far known to be interested in converting.
'Converter' academies seek to keep schools as they are and build on their strengths, whereas earlier academies focused on giving schools in disadvantaged areas a fresh start.
Bristol was at the forefront of Labour's "academies revolution", which brought in external sponsors to support schools.
City Academy in Lawrence Hill was one of the first and most successful. It opened in 2003 and saw exam results rise rapidly.
Merchants' Academy in Withywood, the two Oasis academies in Hengrove and Shirehampton, Brunel in Speedwell, and Bristol Metropolitan in Fishponds followed.
Bristol Cathedral Choir School and Colston's Girls' School were among the first fee-charging schools in the country to become academies.
The city's mix of faith schools, trust schools and community schools as well as academies, has helped drive up results.
More schools are now moving towards changes of status to secure funding during the government's austerity programme.
St Bede's principal Catherine Hughes said: "If we get our fair share of funding direct from Government, then governors can ensure that resources intended for St Bede's are closer to the child, so that quality provision is maintained."