St Andrew's College secures academy sponsorship which could see it transformed into a Catholic school
CATHOLIC secondary education could be set to return to North East Lincolnshire.
Joint-faith school St Andrew's College, in Cleethorpes, has secured academy sponsorship from the Nottingham Roman Catholic Diocesan Education Service (NRCDES) – which would see it transformed into a Catholic school.
Currently it offers both Catholic and Church Of England-based education – with a "strong Christian ethos" – and is run by the Dioceses of Lincoln and Nottingham.
But if academy status were to be approved, priority places will be given to Catholic children over Church Of England pupils.
Pupils from St Joseph's Primary Catholic Voluntary Academy and St Mary's Catholic Primary School will also be given an automatic place.
Principal Louise Wilson hopes becoming an academy will further improve the school's performance, which has seen a 20 per cent improvement in the number of pupils gaining five A*-C GCSE grades in the past year – although this is still nearly 50 per cent lower than the top performing academies in the borough, Tollbar and Healing.
Mrs Wilson said: "My priority remains the pupils and ensuring we have an inclusive and caring community that encourages everyone to be the best they can be.
"To convert to St Andrew's Catholic Academy would support our school to continue on its journey to becoming an outstanding academy of the future."
Pupils of other faiths, or none, would also be welcome at the school, but it may be that they have to apply for a place.
In North East Lincolnshire there are more school places than there are pupils, and because they are funded on a per pupil basis, each school must attract as many as possible to get more money. Currently there are just 570 pupils at St Andrew's.
The college opened in 2010 after North East Lincolnshire Council shut down St Mary's Catholic High School and the old Matthew Humberstone Church Of England School.
After a "turbulent" first year, the school brought in Mrs Wilson last December, who has been credited with "rapidly improving" the performance of the school – which led directly to sponsorship from the NRCDES.
The school's governing body already manages the school finances, staff employment and admissions, so the actual conversion to academy status will not be as significant as for a local authority-maintained school.
Three consultation meetings will be held – on Tuesday, October 16, at 6pm at the college, on Wednesday, October 17, at 5.30pm at St Mary's Catholic Primary School and at 7pm at St Joseph's Primary Catholic Voluntary Academy.
The consultation period will end on Friday, October 26.
Chairman of governors Stephen Durkin said: "The overriding concern of the governing body and NRCDES is to ensure our college continues to improve so it can provide the best standard of education and care to its pupils.
"We will develop a distinctive Catholic ethos and will continue to serve the wider Catholic community – and other communities – as well as being ready to welcome others who may wish to choose a faith education for their children."