What are the pros and cons of a Foundation School becoming an Academy(10 Posts)
As the title says:
The Governing Board of my DC's primary school is considering becoming an academy. We are going through
the pretence of a consultation period at the moment.
My thoughts are that the Foundation school status gives the school a lot of autonomy already so I am confused as to what an academy would bring or take away.
There is also a secondary academy school that we would be teamed with. That school has unsuccessfully tried to be the sponsor of another primary converting to academy status. I'm wondering what their motivation is.
At the moment we have a weak head, lacking in vision and a governing board that gives the impression (rightly or wrongly) of rubber stamping his latest initiatives.
Would the governors have the final word, irrespective of parental opinions?
Any guidance would be appreciated.
I give the Academy system five years till the whole thing implodes and they are all brought back under a new version of LEA control
The main changes for a Foundation school converting are that it will receive funding direct from the government rather than from the LA, it will no longer receive certain services from the LA and will have to fund those itself but the LA will no longer be deducting a proportion of the school's funding to cover those services, the school will become a charity and the staff will be employed by the charity.
I doubt the academy system will implode as such but I would not be surprised if Labour attempt to bring them under LA control if they win the next election.
Thank you prh47bridge. Your explanation makes sense but I am not sure why the academy model is perceived to be so advantageous. Its just about the money - not more or less of it, just from a different source?
If a foundation school is currently graded Outstanding by Ofsted, even if that inspection was 5 years ago, and converts, will it avoid be inspected any time soon?
A foundation school receives its money from the LA. The LA will take some of the money to fund services it provides to schools. The foundation school may not need some of the services provided by the LA or may be able to get them cheaper elsewhere. If that is the case it will be better off after conversion. It will also have more freedom over staff pay.
As the school was graded outstanding there is no set timetable for the next inspection. The school will currently be subject to an annual risk assessment by Ofsted. This will look at academic achievement, attendance and various other factors including views expressed by parents. If this raises concerns about the school's performance it will be inspected. It will also be inspected if there are safeguarding or welfare concerns and in some other situations.
Academies have more autonomy over its curriculum, pay structure and finances. They are not meant to be deemed as better off financially than a state school but are allowed to build up large surplus balances unlike a LA maintained school. I agree that they are going to fail in the longer term. It's only a matter of time till we see the bad news side emerge.
Academies do not have to provide information to parents either.
I doubt that many of us realise that we are not entitled to anything more than a brief annual report from an Academy school. If they choose to provide a one liner, 'Your child is progressing as we would expect', no parent is entitled to anything more.
This is because the statute that governs the provision of information to parents does not mention Academies. Being a 2005 Act it actually predates the current push to Academies. However the Department of Education sees no current reason to change this as they consider this lack of regulation to be consistent with the greater freedoms and lack of regulation they wish Academies to have.
I feel very strongly that ignoring the Common Law rights that we parents have, in order to discharge our duties and responsibilties for our children, is fundamentally wrong and I am personally keen to do something about this.
If any of you have a child at an Academy currently doing GCSE or AS or A levels and your child makes a request that the results be kept from you, you have no independent right to see those results. Your neighbour with a child at a non-Academy has the right to see those results enshrined in statute (2005).
Whilst the regulations applying to reports provided by academies are less prescriptive than those for other types of school they could not get away with a one liner as alleged. They must provide an annual report of the pupil's progress and attainment in each of the major subject areas taught - Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010 Schedule 1 paragraph 24(1)(f). Academies are also subject to the Freedom of Information Act and Data Protection Act.
Isn't a person waiting for A Levels results likely to 18 years of age?
If so, I would fully expect their exam results to be kept confidential if they (as an adult) requested this. It certainly wouldn't be anything I would campaign against under 'common law rights'
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