Academy Status Letter

Dear Parent/Carer

In June 2010, schools deemed by Ofsted to be 'Outstanding' were invited to become Academies. Since that time, the Governors of St John's have been investigating what the implications of this would be for our school, as well as keeping abreast of national developments. Our intention throughout has been to understand the process, benefits and possible drawbacks of this change in status.

Having followed this measured approach and in the light of reassurances received at national level from the Catholic Education Service, the Governing Body met to formally discuss the issue on 9 June 2011. The outcome of this key meeting was a unanimous vote that it would be in the best interests of St John's to pursue becoming an Academy, in the strong belief that this will enable us to continue providing an outstanding education for our students.

One of the most important benefits of becoming an Academy will be the freedom to continue to develop our curriculum in a way which reflects our aspirations and strengths, meeting the needs of our young people as they rise to the challenges of the 21st Century.

We are proud to be an outstanding school committed to serving our local and wider communities. With Academy status, St John's will be committed to maintaining our current admissions policy, meaning that our catchment area and admissions criteria would remain the same.

Our commitment as 'A Learning Community Guided by Gospel Values', reflected in the school Mission Statement, will continue to be at heart of our future. Over many years this sense of purpose has directed our planning and work, expressing our core mission as a Catholic School in the context of a rapidly changing educational landscape.

St John's will continue to build up the many partnerships we have developed over a sustained period of time and, as an Academy, our commitment to working for the Common Good will be maintained. Relationships with our partner Catholic Primary Schools, the Hexham & Newcastle Catholic Partnership and other local schools, both Primary and Secondary will continue to be strengthened with the school's change in status.

The Governors of St John's believe that working towards Academy conversion is the best way for the school to continue to develop in the current educational climate. For this reason, we are writing to you as part of a consultation process to hear your views and answer your queries on the issue of Academy conversion for St John's. Written comments can be submitted by either e-mail or letter. Any requests for a personal meeting or telephone call will be arranged as quickly as possible.

Should you wish to know more about the process, the Department for Education has its own Academies book mark on www.education.gov.uk/academies where there is a section of frequently asked questions which you may find useful.

We look forward to hearing your views.

Yours sincerely,

 Gerard Moran        Frank O'Neill
 Executive Principal        Principal