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First Bexley school becomes academy under coalition's new rules

PUBLISHED: 15:17 06 January 2011

Headmaster John Welsh

Headmaster John Welsh

Archant

The first headmaster in the borough took control of his school's budget as it became an academy under the coalition government's new rules.

Bexley Grammar School, Danson Lane, Welling, officially became an academy on January 1 after the coalition fast-tracked outstanding schools, meaning their future funding went directly to the school rather than through the council.

Bexley Grammar is set to be joined in its academy status by Welling School, in Elsa Road, Welling, on Tuesday, February 1 and then Bexleyheath School in Woolwich Road, Bexleyheath on Thursday, September 1. Academy status will give the school greater independence and control over the services it acquires.

John Welsh, who has been head at Bexley Grammar for the past three years, said: “I am not nervous as there is more responsibility but being in greater control is more reassuring.

“I will choose what we commission now instead of having the council spend it on our behalf. If I need an educational psychologist then I can hire one for the time I need instead of sharing them with other schools. It saves time and it is more direct.”

Despite the surge in secondary school applications, not one of Bexley’s primary schools have expressed a firm interest in becoming an academy.

The new models being put forward for primary schools by the coalition government, includes groups of primary schools banding together to form academies, or Secondary School Academies taking them under their wing.

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