THE new year has heralded the start of a new chapter for one of Falmouth’s primary schools which has become an academy and is looking forward to making the most of the “freedoms” this brings.

Falmouth Primary School is now Falmouth Primary Academy and although no “significant” changes are being proposed imminently, head teacher Claire Smith is adamant the move will benefit staff and children in the long-term.

“We are very proud of Falmouth Primary and how we have become a successful school so we want to be very careful how we move forward,” she said. “We are looking at what we are doing really, really well and what sort of things we would like to do even |better and the new things we would not be able to do as a local authority maintained school.

“At the centre of any decision, though, will be the children and will it make a difference to them? We still want to ensure our children are achieving as well as they possibly can in terms of national expectations.”

It was the governors’ decision to |convert to an academy and this was only made after much consultation. “It started about a year ago, looking at the benefits and the pitfalls and consulting with lots of different people,” said Mrs Smith. “For schools to be able to |continue to thrive in the current |educational climate, you need to work in collaboration with partners.

“It is not just a taking situation, we have a lot to offer and we are happy to share this with lots of other people. It would be very challenging for a school to try to become an academy on their own. You have to look at other schools that have a proven track record and the group of schools we are working with are in Newquay – they have been through the process.”

Despite the new links with the Newquay schools, Mrs Smith has stressed the importance of retaining the close links with other schools in Falmouth. “We are still a part of the community of Falmouth schools, but this is the new landscape in the |community with more and more schools joining together to create |different types of partnerships, whether that is academies, federations or co-operative trusts.

“Becoming an academy provides really exciting opportunities for us. We are still finding our feet at the moment and there are no big changes on the horizon.

Ofsted has said we should keep on doing what we are doing because it is working so that is what we are working on.”