Barnfield Chief Executive Welcomes Accreditation Status

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The Chief Executive at a top Bedfordshire college has welcomed plans that could see it take over the operation of more underperforming schools.

Barnfield College Chief Executive Pete Birkett

Our two academies have made great progress over a relatively short period of time and this new accreditation system will pave the way for further Federations like ours to ultimately drive up standards and results across the whole country.

The Chief Executive at a top Bedfordshire college has welcomed plans that could see it take over the operation of more underperforming schools.

Barnfield College, Luton, is the first Further Education College in the country and one of only six providers to receive Accredited School Group (ASG) status – a new scheme to ensure the best education leaders are able to form federations, in order to drive up standards at primary and secondary levels throughout the country.

Barnfield Chief Executive Pete Birkett welcomed the plans, which include the possibility of parents with children at struggling or failing schools being allowed to vote on who controlled those schools.

In September 2007 Barnfield broke new ground when it became the first Further Education College in the country to sponsor two underperforming secondary schools in Luton, create a federation and turn them around in just two years. From a position of special measures, GCSE results at Barnfield West and Barnfield South academies have tripled and Ofsted recently graded Leadership & Management, Governance and the capacity to improve as “outstanding” in both academies.

Pete Birkett said: “Our two academies have made great progress over a relatively short period of time and this new accreditation system will pave the way for further Federations like ours to ultimately drive up standards and results across the whole country.

“In addition to the new accreditation system, giving parents a strong voice to determine who should lead their local school is welcome.

“Every parent wants the very best for their children and it is only right that they have a say in how the schools are run. I believe that every education and training organisation in the country should be excellent and this initiative can only help drive this ambition.

“Our federation approach has demonstrated that sharing outstanding educational practice drives up standards at previously failing schools. The forming of more federations throughout the country should therefore be welcomed and actively encouraged.”

-ENDS –

Issued on behalf of Barnfield College by Adessi.
For more information please contact John Brenan on 0113 256 9999 or john.brenan(at)adessi.co.uk

Notes to Editors:
Barnfield College is the largest college in Bedfordshire and Luton, with 10,000 full and part-time students accessing state-of-the-art facilities across four campuses. It provides a wide range of vocational courses and career opportunities at all levels to Foundation Degree status.

Officially rated as Outstanding by Ofsted, Barnfield is rated among the top 5% of colleges nationally and in 2003 became the first FE college to earn Beacon status. It is also an Investors in People Champion and a UK Skills Champion.

Barnfield broke new ground in 2007 by becoming the first FE college in the country to sponsor two underperforming secondary schools in Luton. Barnfield West and Barnfield South academies have since made huge improvements, being recently assessed by Ofsted as Outstanding and Good with Outstanding points respectively.

Last November, Barnfield was chosen as the first FE college in the country to secure Government support to set up a new Studio School for 14-19 year olds. Barnfield Enterprise Studio, due to open in September 2010, will offer a hands-on approach to learning for students who find the current academically focused education system disengaging.

Images are available for use – please contact Adessi for the hi-res versions

For more information visit http://www.barnfield.ac.uk

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