HUNDREDS of Huddersfield students will get free school uniforms.

The 900 pupils who will be at Moor End Technology College when it switches to an academy in September will be kitted out smart new blazers.

The £65,000 cost will be met from the new funding pot that will be available to the governors of the new academy, which totals £4.7m.

And the decision to provide free uniforms is one example of the new freedoms they hope to enjoy.

Moor End head teacher Jane Acklam said the academy move will give them much greater freedom – not just to choose what lessons to give but also on what equipment and resources to buy and on admissions.

"As an academy we will receive funding direct from the Government.

From September this year we can chose how to spend our £4.7m budget."

HEAD teacher Jane Acklam is looking ahead to the next school term with renewed optimism.

She is in charge of a high school which will convert to academy status in September.

Moor End Technology College is one of several Kirklees schools which is making the move away from local authority control.

It will mean it takes full control of more than £4.7m of funding – and will be buying new uniforms for the 900 students.

But there has been criticism of the move, so why has Moor End gone down the academy path?

Why is an Ofsted-graded ‘outstanding’ school becoming an academy?

A: Key benefits to becoming an academy include:

- overall independence to run the academy free from the constraints of the local authority

- funding direct from the government

- the opportunity to determine our own curriculum

- the opportunity to set our own admissions policy

- the chance to choose additional partners.

How will the academy be funded?

A: Under the current community school arrangement we are awarded money from the local authority under a financial year basis. But as an academy will receive funding direct from the government.

It will also be easier to manage our budget because it will be allocated in the same year for which we are managing our curriculum.

From September this year we can choose how to spend our £4.7 million budget.

As a direct result of becoming an academy we will receive an extra £425,000.

We are not being funded by a sponsor.

How will this additional funding be allocated?

A: We have to keep a proportion for future projects because there is no capital projects grant anymore.

A large proportion of the remainder will be spent on resources, for example our ICT renewal plan was put on hold due to lack of funding. This will now go ahead as planned.

What is the management structure of the academy and what benefits does it bring?

A: The new governing body has 18 governors – five staff including myself, five parent governors, one local authority governor and seven member governors appointed by the trustees.

We have chosen this formula and wanted to make sure parents are equally represented.

The academy will still be accountable for providing education but the relationship with the local authority has changed to become equals.

The academy is managing the services for which the authority has a statutory duty to provide.

How has becoming an academy changed the admissions policy?

A: Our admissions policy has not changed in practical terms as we are still an ‘all ability inclusive’ education provider.

We will continue to admit pupils based on priority admissions areas of Crosland Moor, Thornton Lodge and Netherton.

We will also continue to operate on a sibling rule and admit a proportion of special educational needs students.

One of the benefits of becoming an academy is we have set 900 pupils as our capacity.

The local authority had previously indicated plans to increase this number to 1,200. By becoming an academy, extensive consultation would now have to take place before this could be changed.

What changes will happen to the curriculum?

A: We are a technology college and we aren’t just going to abandon this specialism, but in the past in order to secure funding we were constrained to certain conditions.

We will continue to have a technology emphasis, but this will be broadened out.

We must continue to teach maths, science, English and religious studies and provide daily acts of worship.

However outside this we do not have to follow the national curriculum which I believe is quite liberating.

We will be introducing changes gradually and will still have to ensure pupils have the skills for assessments at Key Stage 3.

One of the ways we are doing this is introducing STEM (Science, Technology, English and Maths) lessons for Year 7 and 8 students from September.

These lessons are not about content knowledge. They are about themed projects, for example rocket building or smoothie making.

They require the students to take control of their own learning.

Our GCSE students will not see changes for September as the Government is looking to make changes to modular exams and we are awaiting this before implementing any changes.

We are taking feedback from students as to which subjects they would like to see, such as law and sociology.

What physical changes will take place in time for September?

A: The academy has allocated £65,000 to fund school uniforms for every pupil.

The new uniform will consist of a charcoal jacket, black trousers or skirt, white shirt and tie in the colour of their year group.

The school signage will change but no building work is planned in time for September.

TOMORROW: How the Moor End Academy plans to engage with partners to deliver a pioneering new creative programme.