A union leader has criticised the ‘lack of choice’ for parents in Northampton as all secondary schools in the town are set to become academies from April next year.
Thomas Becket Catholic School, in Becket Way, Northampton, was the only secondary school in the town which had not converted to academy status.
But in a letter sent home to parents, it has been announced that the local Catholic dicocese, which runs the school, has applied to become part of the newly-created St Bonaventure Trust as part of an academy chain with three other catholic primary schools in Northampton.
The letter stated: “A Catholic diocese could not accept a non-Catholic sponsor for its schools. The Department for Education is aware of this, and will allow dioceses to become sponsors, on the express condition that a recognised school improvement challenge partner is available to plan and implement robust measures to raise standards as quickly as possible.”
Parents have also been informed that the school is being helped by the David Ross Education Trust (DRET), which currently sponsors Malcolm Arnold Academy and a number of primary schools in the town.
The letter stated that, “in practice” the school is in a transition period, with DRET officially expected to work in the schools with immediate effect as the St Bonaventure Trust’s school improvement partner. The school is expected to convert to an academy in April next year.
Gordon White, county secretary for the National Union of Teachers, said he thought it was wrong that parents of secondary school-age children in Northampton now had no choice but to send their children to an academy.
He said: “Parental choice has been removed completely. Parents who do not want to send their children to an academy will now have to go to a school outside the town or over the county border.”