Cockermouth School plans to become academy

A school in Cumbria could become an academy by the next school year, it has been revealed.

Governors at Cockermouth School voted to investigate the proposal for academy status at a meeting on Tuesday.

A decision was made to hold a second vote before signing any agreement with the Department for Education.

If the proposal goes ahead, it is likely the school will be an academy by September. The head said it would give the school "control of its destiny".

Consultation with all relevant parties, including pupils, staff and parents, will take place over the next few weeks.

Head teacher Geoff Walker said they had considered converting to an academy because it would be "potentially financially advantageous", "allow more freedoms within the curriculum" and "strengthen the way" they worked.

'More freedom'

He said: "It is more about having the freedom to have total control over our own budget and, as a large school with significant economies of scale, it will allow us to purchase, commission and sell our own services."

He added: "Above all, as a large, successful and confident school, it gives us control of our own destiny."

He said the admissions criteria, school ethos and relationships they had with primary and secondary schools would not be affected.

He added: "Changing to an academy would not compromise the high standards the school achieves."

Chairman of governors Len Cockcroft said: "It is important to consider all options in this very difficult time of budget cuts.

"Cockermouth School is a community school and it is essential that the school remains at the heart of the community."

Cockermouth School is an 11-18 co-education comprehensive school, with more than 1,400 students on roll.

An academy is a state-maintained but independently run school which has the help of outside sponsors.

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