‘Exciting times’ as Brooke Hill in Oakham becomes county’s first primary school academy

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THE first of Rutland’s primary schools has been granted academy status.

Brooke Hill Primary School in Brooke Road, Oakham, will become an academy from September.

The name of the school will change to Brooke Hill Academy Trust.

Headteacher Sharon Milner said it was an exciting time for the school.

She said: “We are hoping to convert to academy on September 1 and it is something we are all really excited about.

“It is a positive step forward for us.

“We know we are the first in the county but somebody had to go first.”

Mrs Milner said the school started considering the switch in November when it discovered schools with an outstanding Ofsted rating fulfilled the criteria.

Consultation started with governors, staff, parents and children in January and the school found out it had been successful with its application about six weeks ago.

Mrs Milner said: “There was quite a lengthy process to make sure everyone was on board with it and we finally decided it was the right route for us.”

Changing to academy status means the school will become responsible for its own management rather than being under local authority control.

The move gives schools greater freedom to set its own curriculum, the power to change the length of terms and school days and the ability to set its own pay and conditions for staff.

Mrs Milner said it was these freedoms the school was looking forward to embracing.

She said: “We will have more freedom to direct our resources.

“Because of cuts, the local authority is able to offer us less and less, school meals being just one example of that.”

Mrs Milner said Rutland County Council had been supportive of the change.

She said pupils had been involved on deciding the name of the school but that they were against changing the school logo or their uniforms.

A spokesman for Rutland County Council said they hope to continue working in partnership with the school and to offer advice and support when needed.

County councillor Kenneth Bool (Con), who is responsible for education, said: “I hope that by becoming an academy Brooke Hill will be able to maintain their high standards whilst having the freedom and flexibility to decide how best to meet the needs of their pupils.”

The council said no other primaries had indicated an intention to apply for academy status.

Uppingham Community College and Catmose College in Oakham have already become academies and Casterton Business and Enterprise College will also become one in September.