Could city school become Preston's fourth academy?

Ashton Community Science College is considering becoming an academy
Ashton Community Science College is considering becoming an academy
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A city high school is considering leaving local authority control and becoming Preston’s newest academy.

Ashton Community Science College has launched a six week consultation into the proposal.

Ashton Community Science College headteacher Sharon Asquith with pupils at the Aldwych Drive, Preston school

Ashton Community Science College headteacher Sharon Asquith with pupils at the Aldwych Drive, Preston school

The move could see the Aldwych Drive, school join the Bay Learning Trust, a multi academy trust set up by Ripley St Thomas High School in Lancaster, where former Archbishop Temple head Gill Jackson is now headteacher.

In a letter to parents Ashton head Sharon Asquith said: “Ripley is an Ofsted graded Outstanding school, so we see this invitation to join the Trust they set up as an exciting opportunity.”

The Preston school was rated Good by Ofsted last year.

Parents were told: “The Governing Body considers that being part of an academy trust is the best option for safeguarding our school from an ever changing political landscape and ensuring continuing improvement.

“It is therefore in the best interests of current and future students and staff to join an academy trust.

“It is no longer possible to convert to being a single academy trust and therefore we will need to join a MAT (Multi Academy Trust) if we wish to become an academy.”

Governors say that the move goes will “not alter the unique nature of our school,” and “ the organisation and every day running of the school will continue as normal.”

Preston currently has three academies, Fulwood Academy in Black Bull Lane, and two muslim faith schools, Eden Boys and The Olive School which are both part of the same trust.

Of Lancashire’s 631 schools only 50 are academies. They are funded directly by the Department for Education.

Academies also have more control over their curriculum.

Ashton's consultation runs until December 13.