Primary School turning into an Acadamey(17 Posts)
I just wanted some advice really.
Our school has recently written to us informing us that they are pursing becoming an academy. I am really upset with this news because i have not heard anything good about academies. I think that state schools should really stay under the local authority control and not become a privatised institution. Its disheartening and i dont feel that our leadership team want anything other than to turn all the little kids into robots and make money out of it.
The school is insisting that new legislation is going to come into place where ALL schools are being turned into academies by 2019, and that by going ahead now they will avoid being forced into it.
I have searched and searched and have come up with nothing that points to anything of this nature coming into effect. I have found a couple of articles that say that the PM wants all schools to be turned into academies and also all FAILING schools being forced into becoming an academy but nothing else, nothing concrete that a law is being passed or has been passed.
I would really appreciate anyone who has any information about this new "legislation" to help me. I know that this is probably a foregone conclusion however, the school is meeting with us next month to discuss it further, and would like not to be duped into believing that a new law is coming in.
Are they wanting to be a standalone Academy or be taken over? There are many reasons they might do this. Ours did it and I see no difference two years later - it's not visible as such.
not become a privatised institution. Its disheartening and i dont feel that our leadership team want anything other than to turn all the little kids into robots and make money out of it
An academy is a charity, not a profit-making business.
Government policy is that all failing schools and all schools that are coasting should become academies. I am not aware of any plans to introduce legislation to force all schools to become academies. There is certainly no such provision in anything that is currently going through parliament.
Yes, VA schools can be forced to convert. Often in that case the Diocese would act as a sponsor, but they don't have to.
I work for an academy chain and can honestly say it isn't about money grabbing. We are non for profit, so it isn't about bleeding schools dry (though I agree there are some horror stories about fat salaries - not that I've seen that here).
Academies receive state funding just like LA maintained schools do: the DFE is the same funding body. What it is really about is who is best placed to manage and support the school. The Government are essentially decimating local authorities. I don't know where you live, but I bet the Education Team there is dramatically reduced compared to 5-6 years ago. Being part of a Multi Academy Trust can often bring much more support to schools that feel now cut adrift because the support from the LA just isn't there. I think going it alone as an academy is really hard - schools can feel even more isolated and personally I wouldn't recommend that. But being part of a wider group of schools with a similar vision and ethos can be great.
We tend to take on failing schools, and results have improved immeasurably, often after years of chronic failure and underperformance. I would say don't tar all academies with the same brush - like LAs and schools, there are good ones, bad ones, big ones, small ones. Finding the right size and fit is key.
I don't think there is any concrete legislation to force schools to, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was planned as a 'if most aren't there, we'll legislate' plan. Basically the government want someone external to 'blame' when standards aren't good enough, and it's easier to blame academies which are most divorced from the public sector than local authorities, even if it means little in reality. You may well find a good number of LA staff now work for academy sponsors.
Also, one final point, some schools are financially better off under academies than LAs because academy sponsors charge a lower fee for central services, like Payroll, finance etc. Most of ours now pay much less to us than they did to the LA, so have more to put into supporting education.
The school are wrong when they say there is legislation that will turn all schools into academies by 2019. That does not exist at present. There are lots of rumours that it is going to happen and that consultation will come out shortly after the new national funding consultation during this term. Of course these are only rumours and the only people who really know are in the DfE.
Having said that the school may also find themselves in difficulties in becoming a stand-alone academy, as the new philosophy is that all new academies will be MATs. MATs are multi-academy trusts and just means that it will be a number of schools that are joining together. The one thing that everybody needs to understand is that as soon as it is a MAT the level of governance at a local level may be very different from what is perceived at present as a local authority school.
The one area that I would definitely agree with the school is that it is far preferable to decide your own destiny than have it forced upon you, so an early conversation is preferable.
If I can just add to the rumours....
I have heard, on what I think is good authority that there were certainly plans to introduce such legislation, BUT it has run into a serious problem.
When a Community School becomes an Academy, the ownership of the land and the buildings is transferred from the Local Authority to the Academy Trust. (Not Freehold but really long lease, so there are conditions).
However in the case of most Church Schools, although their running costs are paid for by the state, the land, and usually, the buildings are owned by the Church, so forcing Church Schools to become Academies, particualarly as part of a chain would be expropriating the private property of the Church. Expropriating an LA is one thing but taking land off private bodies like Churchs would be quite another.
And paying the Church's financial compensation, that is buying the schools from them would be very expensive.
Consequently the legislation delayed, and how long for, no one knows....
So, while it would be true to say the PM has said he wants to have al schools academies, AND that the government have indicated an intention to legislate, to talk of it as an established fact is scare mongering. So Prh and admission are right.
A recent Heads briefing had a speaker from the Department of Education who told all the Heads that the intention was all schools would, in the next few years, have to become members of a MAT ( multi-academy trust) of 10-12 schools. This included church schools, which is why my diocese is currently setting up its own MAT of church schools. I have no reason to suppose he was exaggerating!
Some church schools are stand alone academies and we have a catholic academy trust of several schools in our area but the intention seemed to be that ALL schools would become part of a MAT rather than stand alones.
The problem with academies is that they are divorced from local authorities. This in itself is madness.
Local authorities are best placed to know what demand there is for places and can therefore plan accordingly. By removing the link, they can do nothing to make sure places are available for local children.
Also accountability is a real issue especially if you have large chains of academies. If you have a problem with a school in an academy chain, you can only turn to that chain to try and sort things. The bigger the chain, the less power you have as a parent.
Thank you for all your responses.
I am sure they are scaremongering, because apart from the fact that the PM said in 2015 he would like all schools to be academies i have found no such legislation. This is really infuriating and damn right wrong, if the school wants to be an academy there is very little parents can do because it is the governments agenda and they like schools being out of local authority control so why the need to lie to us is beyond me.
I am worried mainly because i hate the feeling of people having too much of a monopoly on something, our last head teacher was outed by the local authority for being inefficient and that in my mind is good. If the school becomes an academy there is no longer that extra support and if the leadership team does become inadequate then that's that basically, there is no one else to turn to.
I think the school already acts like an academy they force us to buy uniform from them; raising prices when and to how much they like, they fine us for being late in the morning and in the afternoon, and constantly threaten us with reporting to the social services for minor infringements, my concern is that these will become much more common when the local authority is removed and then there is no one to complain to.
The school is already part of a 5 way school with one leadership team.
"And you're not scaremongering then. hmm
I work in an academy and it bares no resemblance to the picture you create- robotic kids.hmm"
I am not a head of a school pushing this idea on to parents that if they don't favour being turned into an Academy now, they will be forced later. I am allowed to be concerned that the state is being removed from the school dynamic and our school is falling into private hands with scare tactics.
Thanks for reassuring me that acadamey teachers are such great informative whizz kids, with great sarcastic remarks like yours who needs the state?
The state is not being removed from the school dynamic. The school will still be funded by the state. If it is failing the state can still step in. The difference is that the primary responsibility for the school falls on the academy trust (which, just to remind you, is a charity which is in the third sector, so the school is not falling into private hands) and the state's functions are handled by the DfE rather than the LA. If the school is failing and the academy trust fail to take adequate action to turn it around the DfE will step in and use its powers to force change.
No school, regardless of whether or not it is an academy, can charge whatever it wants for uniform. If they insist that you buy items from the school or from a single supplier they must be able to demonstrate that they are securing best value for parents. They must also pass on any savings negotiated with suppliers to parents wherever possible. And they must ensure that the uniform is not so expensive that it discourages parents from applying for places.
The school will not have any additional powers to fine parents if it becomes an academy. It is highly unlikely that they can legally fine parents for being late in the morning and in the afternoon currently as they are required to comply with the LA's Code of Practice. This will not change if the school becomes an academy.
I am surprised that the school is constantly threatening parents with reporting to social services for minor infringements. For a start social services wouldn't be interested. Secondly any school's income is dependent on the number of pupils. Behaving in ways that put parents off applying for places is counterproductive.
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