NEWS: Sandymoor School in Runcorn hands control of teaching to thriving Liverpool business Educate Me

sandymoor school
A free school in Runcorn has struck a deal with private Liverpool education company to outsource the teaching for two of its qualifications from this September. Sandymoor School has entered into a contract with Educate Me, to deliver two BTEC qualifications in sport & exercise science and enterprise & entrepreneurship.

The news comes just shortly after it emerged that the country’s largest academy chain, Academies Enterprise Trust, was looking at contracting out all non-teaching roles at its 80 schools to the private sector in a deal worth up to £400m.

The deal is another coup for Managing Director and former professional footballer Brian McGorry who’s Educate Me business in September, celebrates 5 academic years in supplying highly acclaimed specialist courses to the education sector. In the last 3 years alone, the company has achieved ‘outstanding’ in five Ofsted inspections.

Headteacher Andy Green-Howard said that he was utilising the flexibility open to him as a free school, adding that the company provides expertise that he would otherwise have been unable to have secured.

“They have tremendous amounts of expertise in this area and they are a team qualified in both higher and further education,” Mr Green-Howard said. “If I were to try to do it, I would need four lecturers and teachers delivering the course, whereas they will be bringing in their own experts.

“The contract is very, very clear that their staff will be compliant to our disciplinary procedures, our quality assurances and our lesson observations. The only difference would be that if I had a concern, rather then go to the teacher directly, I go to the company. I have total control otherwise.”

Mr Green-Howard admitted the move could prove controversial, but insisted that it offered “the best of both worlds”, although he said he would not consider outsourcing for academic subjects.

“With the enterprise and entrepreneurship course, Educate Me has levels of expertise that we just wouldn’t be able to offer,” he said. “And this is what it comes down to, I would always want to appoint my own English or science teachers but trying to find qualified staff in entrepreneurship is much harder.”

Sandymoor, which opened in September 2012, received a grade 2 from inspectors with ‘outstanding leadership’ in an Ofsted report in January 2014.

Responding to a question on the issue of free schools outsourcing teachers in February, education secretary Michael Gove said he was “open to innovative ideas…if a head has a particularly exciting way of casting the net wider to recruit teachers it would be foolish to dismiss it out of hand before we saw what it involved.”

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