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Governors in primary academies: help!

(8 Posts)
niminypiminy Thu 28-Mar-13 08:09:14

Are there any governors out there whose school has faced forced academy conversion? Or any that have converted of their own free will?

We are under pressure to become a sponsored academy following an Ofsted visit (the report was a travesty but that's another story). As governors we have to make a decision about whether to go down that route, and I am in charge of information gathering/research about the likely outcomes.

It would be really great to hear from any governors who have experience of this process -- positive or negative. It would be especially helpful to hear from anyone who has been in a similar position to us.

Many thanks!

Hercule Thu 28-Mar-13 12:19:56

We had rubbish Ofsted before Christmas and are now being forced to convert to a sponsored academy. It was presented to us as though we had a choice but in reality we didn't really have much option. Luckily our very proactive new Head went out and found a sponsor of our choice ( who she has a very good professional relationship going back several years) so to a certain extent we are able to shape our future more than if we had a sponsor forced onto us by the D of E.

All kicks off in September so although we are remaining positive its's a bit daunting. Hard to tell at the moment just how much of a change it will be.

ofstedconfused Thu 28-Mar-13 18:03:57

Same story here.

Governing Body (of which I was a part) agreed to academy conversion as we felt it would lead to smoother transition and we would still keep some influence over the decisions to transition.

However, on hindsight, this belief was naive. Being 'asked' to become a sponsored academy (ie forced conversion) effectively means that the authorities lack belief in the leadership of the school, including the governing body. We were constantly told that our governing body are highly regarded, but the academy sponsors (in our case the church of England diocese) only maintained a little communication with the existing governing body and we have had no part in the preparation for the new school. All members of the governing body could apply for transfer to the new governing board, but after a year of watching our school plummet from a school with a few problems that it was just beginning to turn around (including dramatic improvement in results), to a school with very few staff remaining, and in April moving ahead with supply teachers teaching several classes, an even worse OFSTED than a year ago, and about to get our fourth headteacher this academic year, it's fair to say that we feel very let down! Only a couple of our governors have applied to the new board and this hasn't been set up yet even though the school opens as an academy on the 1st of April (there is a Multi Academy Trust acting as governors in the meantime).

If I had the opportunity again I would vote with my conscience rather than my idealism and vote against. It wouldn't change anything, but I would have been a lot freer to make my own choices before now. And realistically, we were lucky to be sponsored by the Church of England who already have involvement in our school - in many cases you will be dealing with other, perhaps less honourable, institutions.

sittinginthesun Thu 28-Mar-13 18:17:08

No direct experience, but have recently been to a presentation about this. Have sent you a PM.

niminypiminy Thu 28-Mar-13 20:49:05

Thanks, it's really helpful to hear those experiences. We are determined fight this one -- the school is on an upward curve and the Ofsted that triggered the visit from the DfE academies broker focused on the only set of results not already improved -- and which will shortly be above floor targets. So it is very helpful to hear how little control governors have once they have agreed to conversion. Any more experiences, please keep them coming!

Hedgepig Thu 28-Mar-13 22:38:17

We've not had this experience in our school thank heavens but there was a really good article in the Guardian a month or so ago of about a school who repelled the brokers . Ill see if I can find it

Hedgepig Thu 28-Mar-13 22:42:23

I thought that would take me ages but it didn't. I'm on my phone so if the link doesn't work google - guardian academy brokers -
here

ofstedconfused Thu 28-Mar-13 22:44:25

I would say if you can fight it then go for it! If you have the results and progress figures to prove your point then have them to hand and know them by heart!

Evidence would suggest you have a tough time ahead, though! Many, many cases of schools attempting to fight conversion but failing. Although, with the sheer rate of expected conversions, I'm not sure there are the sponsors to keep up with the pace, so it may be worth the figh

Good luck!

Happy to give advice from a school much further down the road - I was heavily involved in meetings with the DfE etc. Just PM me if I can help further.

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