Somerset Church of England schools closer to academy status

Three Church of England primary schools in Somerset are a step closer to becoming academies.

The county council's cabinet member for children approved asset transfers for Churchfield in Highbridge, St John and St Francis in Bridgwater and Archbishop Cranmer in Taunton, to be academies.

A public consultation by the Diocese of Bath and Wells on whether the schools should become academies is under way.

In July, governors at Archbishop Cranmer were sacked by the council.

They said it was after they refused to become an academy, however the Conservative-run county council said it was because of a poor Ofsted report.

A council report on the decision by cabinet member Frances Nicholson states that all three schools are required to convert to academy status by the Department for Education as a result of under-performance or an inadequate inspection.

Her decision paves the way for the schools to become academies from April 2013.

The Diocese of Bath and Wells is setting up a trust to help govern the schools once they are outside the local education authority's control.

Currently, there are 36 academy schools in the county.

Correction 9 November 2012: This story has been amended to make clear consultation over the academies proposal is ongoing.

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