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Children's school changing to an academy...

(10 Posts)
HeadFairy Fri 23-Oct-15 15:34:52

I'm sure this has been done tons over the past couple of years, but my dcs primary school is considering converting to academy status. They've given us lots of pros but what are the cons? Has anyone seen their school change to academy and care to share their experiences post change?


lifesalongsong Fri 23-Oct-15 16:02:06

Not a primary but my children's secondary changed to an academy about 3 years ago and there was absolutely no change that I could see as a parent except obviously the name changed. The uniform is the same, the teachers are the same.

What would concern me for a primary school is whether the school is large enough to be financially viable on its own. How many pupils are there?

HeadFairy Fri 23-Oct-15 17:17:35

It's a tiny school, only a single form intake, with a couple of bulge years so 270 kids at the moment. There isn't any possibility of expanding the school any further than that as it's a victorian school, in a conservation area so the buildings can't be changed in any way, plus it's in the middle of common land so even the council can't buy up chunks of land to expand it. There is a lot of pressure locally to accept more children because of a lack of places - it's the county's most over subscribed school. Does that have a bearing on why they may be considering this?

The school currently works in close association with a couple of local secondary schools, uses their facilities for sport (we're so small we don't have any sports facilities at all) and performances of school musicals etc. One of those schools is converting to an academy, I wonder if that's what's driving this.

redskybynight Fri 23-Oct-15 19:22:04

My DD's school changed a couple of year ago. Like PP I didn't really notice any change. They did become part of an academy trust with a local secondary school though which has resulted in some sharing of resources etc with that school. Sounds like it might be the same in your case.

lifesalongsong Fri 23-Oct-15 19:35:47

270 isn't a tiny school smile, most primaries around me are well under 200 which is too small to be viable as academies so I don't know anyone whose child goes to a primary one.

I'd want assurance that the costs involved with moving away from an LA can be covered by the school budget and won't impact upon teaching. redsky's point about sharing with other schools is a good one and worth asking about.

mrz Fri 23-Oct-15 19:52:47

Most single form entry primaries aren't financially viable alone so may choose to join other schools often under the wing of a secondary school.

HeadFairy Fri 23-Oct-15 21:27:17

livesalongsong... it's tiny for around here, most of the primaries are now 3-4 form entry due to bulge years becoming permanent. We are in the overstuffed south east, so we're small for the area.

Thanks for comments about budgets... I think I'm going to have to go along to the next parent's forum meeting to ask about the possible impact on us. I'm a bit of a dunce when it comes to academies, I assume it means what would be the LA funding for the school is handed to an academy company who run the school for the LA. Does it cost more for an academy to run a school than a LA?

RueDeWakening Fri 23-Oct-15 21:46:25

Our primary had a consultation about becoming an academy from this November. We got a letter the other week saying that they were NOT going ahead with academy conversion.

The main reason they gave is that we are a 2-site primary, with 2 classes on one site and 4 on another. On conversion, they were told there would be no ability to retain current admission arrangements (we are treated as 2 separate schools for admissions purposes) and the school would have to act as a single, 6-form entry primary. This was a deal breaker so they are staying as an LEA school for the foreseeable.

A school can be an academy in its own right btw, and control all of the finances itself - it doesn't need an academy "company" to do it on its behalf. Certainly that was the plan our school had.

tedhis Sat 24-Oct-15 01:55:30

It can't be converting to academy status on its own as primaries no longer can- it must be part of group -so maybe with the secondaries.

Ruedewakening- that sounds like they are spinning you a tale- you don't change admission criteria when you become an academy. You can but it is quite hard to do and certainly nothing the DfE would make you do.

OrangeNoodle Sun 01-Nov-15 22:07:32

Do find out about the accountability chain.

Our DD's school is now part of the academy. The academy has removed the board of governors and the head teacher. There is currently no head and we have no idea what's going on. Parents don't know where to turn. Beyond the principal of the multi-academy trust and the bishop of the diocese who all seem in cahoots with each other.

The local authority won't and can't help.

It's not a good situation.

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