LA school poss converting to academy

(7 Posts)
beavington Thu 28-May-15 23:38:47

What would be my dcs school was reported as Inadequate by Ofsted and is now planned to become a sponsored academy. I will be honest with you I dont know a great deal about free schools / academies except they sound bad. Now that ive learnt our local school may become one by the time my dc attend, im trying to read up on it all! Im hoping someone can explain what the supposed result would be from forcing an inadequate school to become an academy wpuld be. LA run outstanding schools as well as inadequate, and academies remain government funded, so why is it thought that a sponsor would provide a better education than a LA? What is the point i really dont understand. Ive been reading up on it in the belief i wpuld find that it is privatisation however if its government funded i cant fathom what the goal is. I also thought that academies werent required to follow the Nat Curriculum but ive now read that thats a myth!

So what am i missing here (sorry to be so uneducated on an education matter grin)

spanieleyes Fri 29-May-15 08:28:33

Academies don't have to employ qualified teachers, they don't have to pay to scale, they don't have to follow teacher's pay and conditions.

In theory, this could mean they pay a fortune to employ wildly overqualified staff with free BUPA, subsidised canteen, additional holidays etc.

Or maybe not!!

VikingVolva Fri 29-May-15 08:36:34

Firstly, there is no need to fall for the scaremongering about 'unqualified teachers'. There was never a time when every teacher in Britush classrooms had QTS, be there is no evidence of malpractice in appointments being widespread. Check the staff of the school you are interested in, and keep an eye on it if you are worried. But only the actual appointments in your particular school will matter.

They do not have to follow the NC, but will be preparing pupils for the same public exams. So that gives teachers the opportunity to use their professional skills to teach as they judge best for their school. Now, whether you think that's a good thing depends very much on your view of teachers' professional standards. Also on whether you're old enough to be Thatcherite (NC was her govt's policy) or were with the NUT on the protests against its imposition.

Ionacat Fri 29-May-15 11:26:02

A lot depends on the sponsor. You can google the big chains and see what their ethos is, some like longer school days, some are very strict, uniform may change. Examples of these include ARK, TKAT (Kemnal) E ACT, AET and Harris. Other schools are sponsored by local universities, other local school consortiums. There will almost certainly be a change of head, and a fair amount of staff turnover. My last school converted before it was forced as it meant that they could choose the sponsor. Whoever the sponsor is, they will be under pressure to turn things around fast. (And no there is no research to support academies improving results faster, there are good/bad sponsors just like LEAs, can't find the link at the moment though.)

Bolshybookworm Fri 29-May-15 11:49:30

It very much depends on the school and the LEA. Where we live, the LEA are attrocious so lots of schools have become academies to move away from their control and have actively improved as a result. Where my mum lives, the LEA have always been pretty good, so not many schools have changed into academies and those that have have only done so to access increased funding.
Academies aren't inherently a bad thing (as pp says, it depends on the staff and the sponsor) it's just that the journalists who write about them have never ventured to areas where the LEA does a crap job grin.

beavington Fri 29-May-15 12:09:42

Thanks everyone. Ive searched for lots of local schools on Ofsted and theyre all rated at good. We have a massive LEA though so I shouldnt really go off my few searches alone. It just seems like improvement under the LEA would be achievable and conversion to an academy is drastic. I heard a lot of bad things about the headteacher at the school and shes been replaced now so it seems a bit premature to convert yet and i dont like how irreversible it sounds. If the sponsor is a bad one, who helps the school out then?

The school is c of e which im fine for my dc to attend despite my non beliefs, however the sponsor seem a lot more religious :/ i guess its too early to say yet.

I still dont really understand the logic of it all. Wouldnt it make sense for DofE to 'correct' the LEAs which are failing the schools rather than just outsource the job?

Millymollymama Fri 29-May-15 13:22:55

I would think the sponsor will be the Church of England then. That is what has happened around here. Academies are under the "control" of the Government. They receive a lot of funding direct from the Government and are free to make a lot of decisions themselves. Also, C of E schools are more autonomous in the first place with their own C of E Education Department which gives advice and puts its own people on the governing body. It would also depend if it was a Controlled C of E School or a Voluntary Aided C of E School. Becoming an academy will not be much different to Vountary Aided where the governing body already had lots of control. Far more than a state community school. So how has the LA failed this school? I would suggest they have not.

It depends if you think a Local Authority acutally runs a school. I would suggest they do not. Schools already have lots of powers themselves. It is up to the Govenors to appoint the Head, the teachers, ensure the curriculum is effective, be accountable to Ofsted, manage their own finances and ensure the school provides value for money . The LA does none of these things for the school. Local Authorities provide funding for the schools via their formula to distribute the money from the local authority to the schools. I live in a low funding LA, and the funding given to our schools, based on pupil numbers, is one of the lowest in the country. The academies get more money, but still complain. The main difference is the capital funding for new projects which is easier to obtain in an Academy, via the sponsor and the government.

The differences between adacemies and state schools is not always particularly obvious. Lots of state schools are good and some academies are rotten. Lots of local authorities are perfectly capable of improving failing schools. The big, big problem faced by all of them is getting the correct senior leadership team and good quality teaching staff for all subjects. Schools that can do that will do well. Academies and state schools can both fail at that and it will not matter one jot who runs them. The Church of England sponsored academy nearish to me is Requires Improvement. This is about the third time this has happened. Academies are not the answer to problems and, if the staff and Senior Leadership Team are not good enough, even in an academy, where do you go from there? (The answer is rob the staff from another school so that is the next one to suffer). And so it goes on......

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