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Academy Status

Should Courtlands School become an Academy?

 

The governing body of Courtlands School considered a proposal from the Head Teacher at the meeting held on 25th May 2016.  As a result of this proposal, we have registered an interest in the possibility of converting to an academy.  It is our intention to consult with all our stakeholders (including parents/carers, staff, pupils, health colleagues and local authority colleagues) and consider their responses as part of a stakeholders consultation.

 

Context

The reasons for considering conversion to an academy at this time include:

  • The government are clear that all schools will become academies by a range of routes and preferably by 2020.

  • As a ‘Good’ school we would be granted permission to convert automatically.

     

Governing bodies of schools that wish to convert to become an academy are required by the Academies Act 2010 to carry out a consultation with appropriate stakeholders before entering into a funding agreement with the Secretary of State.  Section 5 of this act requires that:

(1)        Before a maintained school in England is converted into an Academy, the school's governing body must consult such persons as they think appropriate.

(2)        The consultation must be on the question of whether the school should be converted into an Academy.

(3)        The consultation may take place before or after an Academy order, or an application for an Academy order, has been made in respect of the school.

‘A Guide to becoming and Academy’ (DfE April 2011) identified that a single question should underpin the consultation with stakeholders:

Should the school become an academy?

There are two consultation stages during the conversion process.

  1. Consultation on whether or not the school should become an academy

  2. Consultation following the decision to convert has been made

 

This consultation is the first consultation.

Staff and union representatives are entitled to receive information from Courtlands School and PCC in relation to the transfer of their employment.

 

What is an academy?

Academies are state funded independent schools that aim to provide a free first class education for pupils of all abilities through a fresh approach to leadership, teaching and learning. They offer a broad and balanced curriculum.

 

Will Courtlands have to cover the cost to convert to an academy?

No. Currently, there is a conversion grant available from the DfE to cover costs.

 

Will Courtlands continue to be inspected by Ofsted after conversion?

Yes. Academies are inspected by Ofsted using the same framework and timescales as now.

 

Academy conversion consultation with stakeholders

Conversion to academy status is a significant step: it means moving accountability away from the local authority to the Secretary of State.  A decision on such a step should not be done without considering the views of those likely to be affected. We are following guidance from the National Governors Association which indicates that consultation should take place at an early stage of the process and before the management committee have submitted an application to the DfE for academy status.

The consultation will include:

  • Information on our website about the possible application for academy status, and a link to the Department for Education (DfE) website, together with a contact address for enquiries

  • A letter to all parents/carers with consultation background information, questionnaire and invitation to respond in writing

  • A letter to associated health colleagues with consultation background information, questionnaire and invitation to respond in writing

  • A letter to local authority colleagues with consultation background information, questionnaire and invitation to respond in writing

  • Meetings with parent/carers in both areas to discuss the proposal

  • A meeting with local authority colleagues to discuss the proposal

  • A newsletter/response to all stakeholders answering questions or concerns, and explaining the latest position on the proposal

  • A discussion with pupils at an age appropriate meeting

 

The following appendices are attached:

  • Appendix 1 – Stakeholder consultation timeline

  • Appendix 2 – Questionnaire

     

What happens to the staff?

Staff working within Courtlands immediately prior to the opening of the academy would be covered by safeguarding of employment regulations – Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE – see below).  This gives them the right of transfer from Courtlands to the academy and also helps to minimise the disruption to the pupils’ education.

 

Staff employment consultation

As part of the process of setting up the academy, staff will have to transfer to the employment of the new academy. Staff and their representatives are therefore entitled under TUPE Regulations to be provided with certain information by their current employer (PCC) in relation to the transfer of their employment.  TUPE consultations cannot start until the governing body has formally approved the proposal to convert to academy status (to do otherwise would pre-empt the governing body’s decision).

 

APPENDIX 1: Stakeholder consultation timeline

 

Date

Activity

Week commencing

20/6/16

Meeting for all staff to allow Head Teacher and Governors to outline the consultation process and to distribute consultation background information and questionnaire.

Week commencing

27/6/16

Consultation uploaded to website

Letter sent from Chair of Governors with consultation background information, questionnaire and invitation to respond in writing to:

  • All parents/carers
  • Local Authority representatives
  • Head Teachers of key partner schools in Plymouth
  • Local branches of relevant professional associations and trade unions.

 

Questionnaires to be returned by 11/7/16

Week commencing

11/7/16

Wednesday morning between 10 am – 12 noon at Courtlands School for parents/carers, local branch officials of professional associations/trade unions, staff and other professionals to ask questions to members of the Governing Body and Headteacher. 

 

Week commencing

18/7/16

Letter outlining summary of responses to consultation sent to those interested in receiving information and posted on website.

 

Meeting of Governing Body on 21st July 2016 to consider responses to consultation.

 

 

Courtlands Academy Consultation Questionnaire

 

  1. Please circle which best describes you:

I am a:  Parent     Carer     Employee at Courtlands School   Local Authority    Health    Other

If you are ‘other’, please specify:

  1. If you wish to be kept informed about the latest developments, please check our website www.courtlands.plymouth.sch.uk  and/or provide your email address or contact details below:

Name:

 

Address:

 

Post code:

 

E-mail:

 

  1. Do you agree that Courtlands School should convert to an academy? (Please circle as appropriate).

Strongly agree                          Agree                        Disagree                Strongly disagree

Explain why you have given the answer above

 

 

 

 

If you disagree or strongly disagree, please tell us what other options the Governing body should consider

 

 

 

 

  1. Do you have any other comments to make about the proposal for Courtlands to become an academy?

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to complete this consultation.

Please return to Charlotte Roe, Courtlands School, Widey Lane, Crownhill, Plymouth, PL6 5JS


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