Durham University confirmed as major academy sponsor
(27 March 2008)
Durham University will lead in developing proposals for two new academy schools.
The University was confirmed as the major academy sponsor in an announcement by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Ed Balls. The Government and Durham County Council have indicated that, subject to viable plans being developed and agreed, a university-led academy will serve the City of Durham, and another will be established elsewhere in County Durham, on sites to be determined. Results for 2007 show the proportion of pupils in academies getting five or more good GCSEs has doubled over the past six years – compared to their predecessor schools. The National Audit Office (NAO) have concluded that academies are “on track to deliver good value for money”, are popular with parents and staff, and are raising educational attainment at a much faster rate than the national average. The Government and Local Authority will also continue to discuss potential sponsor arrangements for further academy possibilities in County Durham. Ed Balls said: “These projects represent a real opportunity for education in County Durham. “Durham University is an academic powerhouse and I am very pleased that we will be working with them to develop plans for these new academies.” The Vice Chancellor of Durham University, Professor Chris Higgins, said: “Durham University is committed to educational achievement and raising aspirations and we are extremely excited about the prospect of contributing to education in all County Durham secondary schools through the Academies programme. “This will ensure the University can use its immense educational expertise and facilities for maximum benefit to the County’s schoolchildren.” County Councillor Claire Vasey, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services said: “These exciting developments provide us with a tremendous opportunity to build further on the significant improvements that have already been made in secondary education. Working with the University and other partners will enable the County Council to continue its pursuit of educational excellence already recognised in its Beacon Award for School Improvement.”