Academy status - pros and cons(8 Posts)
Just got a letter inviting us to vote for or against Academy status for the Primary.
The Head is very pro, so naturally the explanation is too. Are there any downsides to Academy status?
As far as I can make out the positives are you control your own budget, you can share teachers between schools and paperwork is cut down as you aren't dealing with LEA.
Could anyone elighten me further?
Academies don't qualify for the assisted purchase scheme for musical instruments.
We've had this discussion at DD's school (I'm a parent governor). The school already has considerable control over its own budget, buying back some, but not all, services from the LA. There would be more administration involved in becoming an academy, due to the support it would lose from the LA - this would cost. The local secondaries that have gone to academy status already have business managers, if not entire business management teams - they can suck up the extra admin; we would need to employ someone to do it. The extra money (unreliable as it is - could just be this year and then nothing) is significant for the secondaries, but even for a large primary like ours it's much less so.
I can see two big reasons for doing it:
1. The school's finances are poor and the extra (five figure?) sum would make a big difference.
2. Headteacher's ego trip.
More control over admissions for the school. And exclusions ...
Hmmm thank you your replies are very interesting and enlightening. I can see it's not a simple down the line thing.
Any more experiences gratefully received!
Annoying all the other local schools? By withdrawing from LEA provision, you reduce the LEA's economies of scale, making it a worse deal for the schools still using its services, and potentially cause yourself problems as you suddenly become a small fish in a big pond trying to find a good deal on everything for yourself. Unless, of course, all schools in the area are becoming academies together and pooling resources to share a business manager to replace the LEA, because the LEA has more or less told them they have to, because it can't afford to provide a full range of services anymore, anyway, as a result of chronic underfunding and staff cuts - ie government forcing academies on everyone in the long run whether they like it or not and pretending it was the peoples' choice. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why any school would really want to be responsible for its own legal services, payroll and pensions, insurance, electricity supplies, buildings maintenance, etc - it's not exactly a school's main purpose and would require someone spending an awful lot of time researching it all to get the "best deals."
the Head has ignored all this on her letter
I am going to get a reputation as a trouble maker aren't I?!
I think all the staff would effectively be employed by the academy, rather than the local authority, so the academy would be responsible for pay levels and redundancy payments if the school ever started performing less well and became less popular and therefore started bringing less money in as a result of falling pupil numbers. I would worry about an outstanding school riding high with a good head becoming an academy and then taking on a subsequent headteacher who isn't really up to the job (or finding the existing head is getting a bit old and worn around the edges!...) - what a lovely old mess for the school governors to try to deal with without any back-up, and extra stress for the teachers in the school. If only there were a bigger pool of headteachers out there...
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