Federation may lose a member

A partnership of schools in a north Northumberland town could become smaller as a first school looks to leave and reinstate its own governors.

Alnwick South First School currently forms part of the Aln Community Schools Federation, along with the Duke’s and Lindisfarne middle schools and the Duchess’s Community High School.

But the school is consulting parents and staff on whether to leave the federation and reinstate its own governing body. A meeting is taking place at the school next week to discuss the proposals.

Headteacher Jenny Smith said: “At the moment, we have gone to consultation and are consulting with staff and parents.

“The reason is that there are a lot of challenges within the Federation with one governing body to oversee the problems.

“It (leaving the Federation) would give us 12 governors and the rationale is to increase the capacity.”

She added that she felt it would be beneficial to have a set of governors solely focused on the younger children at the first school.

One of the challenges facing the Federation at this time is Lindisfarne Middle School requiring special measures following its recent Ofsted report, which also saw the governing body face criticism.

Alnwick South First School was last inspected in autumn 2011 and was rated as outstanding, while the high school is good and the Duke’s Middle School requires improvement.

The Federation’s chairman of governors, Lalage Bosanquet, said that the body has been reviewing its own practices since the Ofsted criticism and that the ‘Alnwick South School governors felt that the younger children were best-served by having their own governing body’.

“That doesn’t mean they will be severing all their links with the Federation, there are too many ties,” she added.

Last month, we reported that following a meeting with the Department for Education, the Federation had been given until the end of the summer term to lift Lindisfarne out of special measures.

It was said that this was due largely to the strength of support that the governors and senior leaders have been able to demonstrate from the other schools in the Federation and local authority.