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SHOULD OUR SCHOOL BECOME AN ACADEMY? GOVERNING BODY PRESENTATION GUILDFORD DIOCESAN EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
ACADEMIES – A DEFINITION ‘Academies are publicly funded independent schools free from local authority and national government control.’ Source: Department for Education
SO HOW DO ACADEMIES DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SCHOOLS? • Freedom from local authority control • The ability to set their own pay and conditions for staff • Freedom from following the National Curriculum • Greater control of their budget [paid directly by DfE] • Greater opportunities to collaborate with public and private organisations • Freedom to change the length of terms and school days • Freedom to spend the money the local authority currently spends on their behalf Gove: ‘Teachers not politicians know how best to run schools’, DfE, 26 May 2010
So what are the advantages? Schools who have become academies say they have benefited from: • Greater financial and operational freedoms to meet school’s priorities • Innovative staffing • Opportunities to support other schools • Can tailor provision to meet learners’ needs • Smaller class sizes • Innovative curriculum • No OFSTED inspections if outstanding and results maintained Source: DfE website
Any downsides? • School leaders need capacity to take on wider managerial remit including management of services and suppliers – implications for work of headteacher; may need school business manager • Staff and (possibly) parents may not be supportive • Role of governors enhanced with prime responsibility for school’s performance from standards to budgets and role as charity trustees • Schools need to negotiate service contracts for services no longer provided by LA (although LA and Babcocks would provide on traded basis) • Potential risk of loss of networking with other local schools, LA and Diocese • On your own if things go wrong (but see ‘umbrella trust’)
Academies: the wider picture (1) • LAs concerned that creation of academies and consequent loss of funding to LA may affect ability to service remaining schools and schools in difficulty although funding in Surrey protected for 2 years from 2011 • Wider concern that risk of two tier education system with academies enjoying freedoms not available to other schools • CoE concerned about fragmentation of family of church schools
Academies: the wider picture (2) • Although currently only a few church schools in Guildford Diocese are actively considering academy status, possible cuts in school budgets or LA services from 2012, may make academy status more attractive • Cuts in LA funding and service provision may open up education service market to new providers • New opportunities for dioceses, working individually or together, to sponsor new groupings of schools as academies or become service providers themselves
Academies: more information • Funding – Ready reckoner on DfE website helps assess funding implications: worth doing. Some local schools have found +10% on current budgets before buying in additional services currently provided by LA. But no guarantees on funding levels for academies post September 2011. • Initial grant – the DfE is currently providing an initial grant of £25k to all schools converting to cover set up costs • Consultation – requirement to consult staff, parents, the DBE and the unions before submitting an academy application. The results of the consultation are not binding on the governing body. • Governing Body – governors need to be confident they have the skills to oversee standards, finance, HR and safeguarding within the school as well as taking on the additional responsibilities of charity trustees
Academies: yet more information • Pensions – teachers and support staff will stay in their current pension schemes: • for teachers, no liability for past pension shortfall but academies will be liable for future shortfall • both past and future pension shortfall for support staff involved in LGPS will be responsibility of academy • Redundancies – academies bear the cost of any redundancies they need to make
Academies: emerging models Single academy trusts – often secondary schools, these are schools which become academies in their own right with a funding agreement from the DfE Multi academy trusts (‘brand’) • Several academies created using one funding agreement. There is one company and each academy might have a governing body, but with limited powers. Model used by companies such as Oasis, Ark and ULT Umbrella trust model (‘chain’) • Each academy has its own funding agreement, company and governors. Separate umbrella trust established by member academies to achieve certain objectives. Preferred model for dioceses. Model also used by secondaries to create family of schools with local primaries.
How might the Diocese respond? • By setting up an multi academy trust company to run schools which are at risk of forced academy conversion – this is under active consideration • By setting up an ‘umbrella trust’ (see over) to take on functions of DBE which relate to academies • DBE sets up charitable company limited by guarantee to become corporate member of all academy trusts • DBE retains statutory functions/responsibilities removing need for incorporation of DBE • Small board of members/directors nominated by DBE • Established and controlled at member and governor level by key staff from all of predecessor schools • By setting up a trading company to offer range of school services including school improvement, buildings, governance and brokerage to other services eg HR and payroll
DIOCESAN BOARD OF EDUCATION UMBRELLA TRUST X members appointed by DBE X members elected by HTs/Govs/Academies Established and controlled at member and governor level by key staff from all of the predecessor schools Other schools and responsibilities Secretary of State DfE Local CoE Multi-Academy Trust A Elected representatives from Governing Bodies and the Umbrella Trust Single Academy Governing Body A Single Academy Governing Body B Academy Governing Body 1 Academy Governing body 2 POSSIBLE DIOCESAN EDUCATION ACADEMY MODEL
And if we don’t become an academy? • Not all schools will wish to become academies at present • Diocese would wish to ensure as far as possible that all Church schools regardless of category had access to high quality support and services – hence proposal to set up trading company • Collaborative partnership model (see over) would allow all schools – including community schools, if they wished - to benefit from support and services offered by Diocese
Guildford Diocese Schools Trust Guildford Diocese Edn. Services Academy Trust ex- community schools Umbrella Trust of Church Schools Single Academy Trust 2 Acad 1 Acad 2 Multi academy trust Single Academy Trust 1 School 1 School 2 Future Model
GUILDFORD DIOCESE SCHOOLS TRUST: OBJECTIVES (1) • Raising standards • Placing Christian spirituality at heart of education • High quality leadership and management • Identifying and sharing good practice • Promoting inclusion and maximisation of opportunities
GUILDFORD DIOCESE SCHOOLS TRUST:OBJECTIVES (2) • Achieving economies of scale • Supporting governors • Pressing forward in curriculum quality and innovation • Promoting inter-school collaboration • Securing strong parish, community and international links
GUILDFORD DIOCESAN TRADING COMPANY: some thoughts • Trading company linked to umbrella trust/collaborative partnership • Providing a range of traded services building on current diocesan education services and including school improvement, property, governance and access to services including finance, payroll, HR etc
So what do we need to consider as a governing body in making our decision? • In what ways might our pupils, staff, parents and wider community benefit from academy freedoms? • How could we use academy status to raise standards and address other school development needs? • What are the implications for the work load of headteacher, staff and governing body? How would we source the educational support and management services we needed? • What are the likely financial implications of academy status including liability for pension scheme deficits? • Have we identified the land and property transfer issues we need to consider?
Are we prepared, as a governing body, to take on the additional responsibilities of being academy governors and charity trustees? • What do key members of our school community – headteacher, staff, parents and DBE – think currently? • How would academy status affect our Christian character and distinctiveness? • What is our risk appetite as a school? • What are other local schools planning to do and how might this affect our decision? • How would academy status affect our significant partnerships ..... other schools, LA, Diocese, business partnerships etc?
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY • Complete a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis for: • becoming an academy • retaining current status and review results
APPENDIX: Services which LAs will continue to provide to academies: • Home to school transport (including SEN) • Education psychology, SEN statementing and assessment • Monitoring of SEN provision, parent partnerships etc • Prosecution of parents for non-attendance • Individually assigned SEN resources for pupils with rare conditions • PRUs or education otherwise for pupils no longer registered at an academy
APPENDIX: Services funded from LA’s school budget not provided free to academies: • SEN support services • Behaviour support services • 14 – 16 practical learning options • School meals and milk • Assessment of free school meals eligibility • Repair and maintenance of kitchens • Museum and library services • Licences and subscriptions • Central staff costs (maternity, long term sickness and trade union duties)
APPENDIX: Services funded from other LA sources not provided free to academies: • Asset management costs • School improvement services • Monitoring national curriculum assessment • Education welfare services • Pupil support (eg clothing grants) • Music services • Visual and performing arts services • Outdoor education services • Certain redundancy and early retirement costs • Costs of LA’s statutory/regulatory duties
SOURCES OF INFORMATION • DfE website (regular updates) http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/academies • National Society for Church Schools (regular briefings produced) http://www.churchofengland.org/education/national-society/academies-(1).aspx • Lee Bolton Monier Williams (solicitors to the National Society for Church Schools producing standard legal documentation for converting CoE church schools) http://www.leeboltonlee.com/education/academies • Guildford Diocesan Education Department website: we are posting relevant information as it becomes available The academies agenda is fast moving so it’s worth checking the websites regularly for the most up to date information