William Parker’s bid to become Hastings’ newest academy

William Parker Sports College
William Parker Sports College

WILLIAM Parker Sports College has applied to become an academy.

The move comes after the boys’ secondary school was placed in special measures in January following a damning Ofsted inspection report branding the school as ‘inadequate’. Inspectors said the Parkstone Road school was failing in achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety, and leadership.

The school’s governing body this week asked Education Secretary Michael Gove to make an order enabling William Parker to become an academy, which if successful, would be effective from September 1.

It would be sponsored by ARK Schools, an education charity which operates 18 academies in London, Birmingham and Portsmouth.

Governors believe the move will help the school raise standards following Ofsted’s report.

The percentage of GCSE students gaining five A* to C grades at William Parker in 2012 was 35 per cent, down from 53 per cent in 2011, and the worst outcome since 2008.

William Parker would keep its present name and remain a boys’ school under academy status.

It would also stay as a Church of England school, maintain its close relationships with the Parish of St Clement and All Saints and the William Parker Foundation, as well as keep its collaboration with Helenswood School in the running of Parkwood Sixth Form.

Gareth Bendon, chairman of the governing body, said: “The college has seen many changes since William Parker founded it in 1619. We expect the growth in capacity, leadership and expertise that will come from joining the ARK family of schools will offer transformational opportunities for the boys, while the distinct identity of the college, its traditions and its relationship with its many partners will continue and flourish.”

Sophy Blakeway, ARK Schools director of education, said: “William Parker has a long history in Hastings. We believe that working together we can once again make it an outstanding school where staff and pupils can be proud of their achievements. I very much hope everyone will welcome the governors’ proposal and we can get on with this very important task.”

John Court, headteacher, said: “This is an exciting time for William Parker. I am assured that this will bring much-needed support and development as we strive to move forward for all the students at William Parker and Parkwood Sixth Form. Change always brings challenges and we face these with vigour and determination to become the best we can be.”

William Parker is starting a consultation involving a series of public meetings.