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Outstanding comprehensive to become academy

A revolutionary bid by the first outstanding state school to become an academy will take effect from September

A revolutionary bid by the first outstanding state school to become an academy will take effect from September

Outwood Grange College in Wakefield will be the first top-ranked comprehensive to switch to academy status and aims to sponsor its own chain of 10 academies across the country within five years.

The academy programme was established to turn around schools with long histories of underperformance. But Outward Grange wants to become the first "academy of excellence" and share its expertise.

The ground-breaking move will see the school receive its funding direct from the Government instead of its local authority and be given new freedoms.

Unlike other academies, however, the school will not have an external backer. It hopes to sponsor other schools in challenging areas across the country.

Pat Garbutt, cabinet member for children and young people at Wakefield Council, said: "This is a pioneering step. In taking this decision we believe the interests and future of our young people will be best served by the academy of excellence, which will showcase good practice and provide leadership for other schools."

When the plan was first revealed in The TES earlier this year, Michael Wilkins, the school's executive principal, said: "Academies do great things in areas of deprivation and we want to be part of that.

"Being an academy will give us the freedom to bring in curriculum changes. It's a great movement to be part of. We realised it would be easier for us to support an academy if we became an academy too."

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