The proposal would mean independent Haileybury becoming the sole sponsor of an academy trust for Turnford School. Subject to consultation with Turnford parents, staff and the local community and approval from the Secretary of State for Education, it is intended this will take effect from September 2015.
Sponsorship of the proposed academy follows more than 18 months of partnership between the two schools during which Turnford pupils have enjoyed access to a wide range of activities provided by co-educational boarding and day school Haileybury. These include support for able pupils in applying to Russell Group universities, entrance to the Combined Cadet Force, involvement in the Model United Nations weekend and access to a series of Haileybury lectures. In return, Haileybury has benefited from Turnford’s professional expertise in the use of data for teaching and learning and its close community links.
Commenting on the proposal, Joe Davies, the Master at Haileybury, said: “Haileybury is delighted to support Turnford’s ambition to become an academy school. By sharing our expertise and resources we believe we can make a difference to Turnford pupils’ achievements by helping them fulfil their academic potential. We are hopeful that the proposals will be accepted and we look forward to extending and formalising our strong partnership.”
Headteacher of Turnford School, Jo Gant, added: “Turnford’s Governors and I are extremely excited by the opportunity that academy status can deliver for our pupils. Haileybury’s involvement is crucial in creating a climate of aspiration that will stretch our pupils, enabling them to become the very best they can be. My clear goal is for our next Ofsted report to reflect the positive benefits that this change in status can achieve, taking us from our current rating of “requiring improvement” to “good” and ultimately achieving the highest possible rating for subsequent inspections.”
Chris Hayward, Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We support any school that looks to assume greater autonomy by seeking academy status when it is right for them, and wish Turnford School well in their new venture. We also welcome Haileybury’s input – it is good to see schools working in partnership like this, and I’m sure both schools will continue to benefit from working so closely with each other.
“We work with all schools becoming academies to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements and are confident that academy schools will wish to remain engaged in their wider role of promoting high educational standards for all children in Hertfordshire.”