Proposed Academy Conversion information

The below information is also available to download here

 

As you may already be aware, the governing body of Chasetown Community School under the Academies Act 2010 is proposing to join the Chase MAT.  Further information about what becoming an academy means, and how to comment on the proposals, is set out below.

Will Chasetown Community School definitely become an Academy?

The governing body is submitting an application to convert to academy status and is working towards a conversion in October 2016.  However, the school is not obligated to become an academy until the contract between the academy trust and the Department for Education (known as the Funding Agreement) is signed.

 

The academy trust will not sign the Funding Agreement until parents and carers of pupils at the school, staff at the school, and pupils themselves have had the opportunity to comment on whether the conversion should take place.  We have written to all parents and carers who were invited to to a meeting on 5th July at 5.30pm.  We have also held meetings with staff, and will be keeping pupils informed throughout the process.

 

Any comments or representations which are made about the proposals will be considered by the academy trust before a decision is taken to sign the Funding Agreement.  Details of how to provide comments and representations are set out below.

 

The academy trust will not sign the Funding Agreement unless they are content that conversion would be in the best interests of the school taking account of all the legal and practical ramifications.

 

What is an academy?

An academy is essentially an independent school which is funded by the state.  It is independent of the local authority and receives its funding direct from central government.

 

It is proposed that Chasetown Community School will become an academy as part of Chase MAT.  This means that the school will be part of an academy group comprising of Chasetown Community School and Western Springs Primary School.

 

What are the benefits of being an academy?

In the school’s opinion the benefits are numerous:

  • Academies are independent of local authority control – this means that academies have more freedom about how they conduct themselves
  • Academies receive their funding direct from central government – this means that academies receive more funding because none is retained by the local authority for the provision of central services
  • Academies have more freedom over the curriculum taught – this means that academies do not need to teach parts of the National Curriculum which they do not consider appropriate for their pupils
  • Academies can set their own pay and conditions of service for their staff – academies have the freedom to alter the pay and conditions of their staff (subject to normal employment law protections for staff) and so can provide staff with better pay and conditions than previously
  • Academies have more freedom to undertake innovative projects – academies are companies and so have more freedom to undertake innovative projects, such as setting up and utilising trading subsidiaries

 

Are there any disadvantages to becoming an academy?

The Chase MAT will be directly liable for matters such as insurance, employment liabilities, pensions, health and safety, and, property maintenance.  However, as mentioned above, academies receive more funding from central government to help them meet these additional costs.

 

Will the admissions arrangements change?

As a community school Chasetown Community School’s admissions arrangements are set by the local authority, and the local authority also decides which pupils should be offered places at the school.  As an academy, the Chase MAT will put in place admission arrangements, and decide which pupils should be offered places in accordance with those arrangements.  The academy will still be bound by the national Admissions Code, and Admissions Appeals Code and the admission arrangements of the local authority for pupils with SENDs.

 

The current admissions arrangements will remain in place for the time being.  If the academy wanted to change its admission arrangements consultation would be required.

 

Will staff leave?

If the school converts to an academy, all staff currently employed by the school will automatically transfer to the new academy on their current pay and conditions.  Although the academy will have more freedom to amend those pay and conditions in the future, the Governing Body does not intend to take such a step in the foreseeable future and in any event, any change to pay and conditions would need to be consulted upon with staff representatives.

 

Will Chasetown Community School change?

We do not intend to change Chasetown Community School except in ways which we think will improve the school even more.  For students, it is unlikely that they will see much, if any, change in their day to day school lives.  Academies do have the power to vary their curriculums and vary the length of the school day however, it is not intended to take any such steps at this stage and would engage with parents/carers, staff and students if we did ever intend to make such changes in the future.

 

How can I find out more?

A meeting was held at the school on 5th July at 5.30pm.  

 

There is also more information about academies on the DfE website:

http://www.education.gov.uk/academies

 

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, or on the DfE website, and cannot attend the meeting on 05/07/16, please email Linda James at office@chasetowncommunity.staffs.sch.uk who will try to assist.

 

How can I make representations?

To respond to this consultation on whether the school’s academy conversion should take place, representations can be made in writing to:

 

Linda James

Chasetown Community School

Church St

Chasetown

Burntwood

Staffordshire

WS7 3QL

 

Or by email to: office@chasetowncommunity.staffs.sch.uk