In the current political climate the conversion by schools to Academy status is a matter that every school and its governing body must consider. Whether the school or its governing body are in favour of conversion it is a process that must be considered so the school can demonstrate that is has taken an informed decision.
In a series of blogs we will look at the process, the steps required and ramifications of Academy conversion. Here we look at how an Academy differs from Local Authority funded schools, in future blogs we will look at the pre-conversion considerations, including the advantages and disadvantages of conversion, the conversion process and post conversion matters.
What is an Academy?
Academies are effectively independent state schools, directly funded by Central Government rather than through a Local Authority.
The Academy Trust, a non-profit organisation, is responsible for the Academy. The responsibility of the day-to-day running of the school remains with the Head Teacher with the Academy Trust providing advice, support and expertise.
What are the effects of conversion?
Each Academy is responsible for setting and implementing its own admission policy and for prioritising applications.
Land and Buildings
The land and buildings of the school will be leased to the Academy Trust. The Academy will be responsible for the land and building and would be reliant on capital funding. Maintained schools are not responsible for the land and building.
An Academy has to offer a broad and balanced curriculum for students of differing abilities, including Maths, English, and Science, but it does not have to follow The National Curriculum. The National Curriculum is compulsory for all maintained schools.
The Academy Trust becomes the employer of school staff, rather than the Local Authority. This gives Academies freedom to set new terms and conditions for future staff.
The Academy receives its existing school budget and also its share of the funding that is retained by local authority for maintained schools and an additional one-off contribution towards the cost of conversion.
The Academy Trust governs the school. The Governors are the Directors and Trustees of the Academy Trust.
Each school must consider the effect of the changes that it will undergo and decide as a first priority whether the education of the children will benefit but also whether the school management team at all levels has the skill and support to deliver. We would always advise you to seek legal advice before undertaking the process.
For legal advice on converting to Academy status please speak to Duncan McAllister on 01244 354 800 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep an eye out for our series of blogs on Academies the next instalment discusses the advantages and disadvantages of conversion and other pre-conversion considerations.