Consultation: Academy conversion
The governing body has taken the decision to investigate the possibility of our school converting to academy status as a member of The Heath Family Multi-Academy Trust. As part of the statutory process, governors wish to consult with parents and carers, staff and community stakeholders to gather views about conversion.
Governors believe that joining The Heath will secure our school’s place at the heart of the Litherland community. Governors have spent nearly two years researching about potential MAT partners, talking to staff and, more recently, members of The Heath family itself. The headteacher, senior leaders and other staff have been working more closely with Heath schools since the beginning of this academic year – there is an alliance of educational aims and always a commitment to do the very best for our children within a strong, collaborative network.
Academies receive the same level of per-pupil funding that they would receive from the local authority as a maintained school, plus additions to cover the services that are no longer provided for them by the local authority. Academies receive their funding directly from the Department for Education rather than from local authorities.
Our school will retain its governing body and we do not expect the structure of the group to change significantly as a result of academy conversion. The Heath Family Multi-Academy Trust has a board of directors who have the overall legal responsibility for all schools within its trust and who will provide support and challenge for our governing body, headteacher and senior leadership team. As an academy, we would retain the same admission criteria as currently. The school will continue to deliver high quality education to the children and families within our community.
Why become an Academy?
Governors believe that moving to academy status within The Heath Family brings opportunities for collaboration. There are currently four primary schools in the trust and Litherland High is one of four high schools. This strong network brings support and challenge and opportunities for staff and children to grow and develop as part of a small but wider group of schools.
We are currently working with a number of trusted partners in bringing about school improvement in key areas. These partners have a range of experience and expertise. Converting to academy status would provide the opportunity for these partnerships to continue, new partnerships to develop and would create additional educational excellence, opportunity and capacity to secure this improvement.
The school will remain the same in terms of its name, ethos, vision, values and distinctive character, continuing to work closely with Sefton Local Authority, local schools and other trusted partners.
What happens next?
Governors are interested in hearing your views on Litherland Moss Primary School converting to academy status. You may forward your views in writing to Mrs E. Oliver, clerk to the governing body, marking your envelope ‘Academy Consultation’ or by emailing the school at firstname.lastname@example.org
We invite you to discuss the conversion with us.
Monday 11th June 2018: 2:00 p.m. (parents)
Monday 11th June 2018 3:30 p.m. (staff and union representatives)
Monday 11th June 2018: 5:00 p.m. (parents)
Monday 11th June 2018 6:00 p.m. (stakeholders)
The meetings will be held in the school hall (entrance via the main foyer)
The consultation period ends on 25th June 2018. Following this the governing body will meet again to consider your views and the outcome of the consultation will be published on the school’s website.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is an Academy?
An Academy is a state school that is run by an Academy Trust. The Academy Trust enters into an agreement with the Secretary of State for Education that sets out its responsibilities and accountabilities for the effective running of the Academy. The Academy is funded directly by the Government and is no longer run by the Local Authority. The Trust is given charitable exemption, which means it must operate much like a charity.
There are two types of Academies:
Converter: maintained schools that are regarded as being at least “good with outstanding features” are able to apply to become “converter academies”.
Sponsored: a maintained school that has been transformed to academy status as part of a government intervention strategy. Sponsored academy status is designed for “underperforming” schools where action is needed to raise standards.
All “Good” and “Outstanding” schools (as judged by Ofsted) will be converter academies.
What is involved in becoming an Academy?
The Governing Body of our school has voted for this proposal in principle. The school must complete a consultation with parents, pupils, staff and the wider community which the Governors will take into account in reaching its decision.
Would the school have to change its logo or uniform?
No. The school will not be changing its uniform as a result of Academy status.
How will being an Academy affect staff?
Staff are legally protected to transfer under the same employment terms and conditions, including pensions. Their continuity of service is protected, and all staff will be consulted in accordance with the Transfer of Undertakings of Employment) Regulations. So the same people will be employed on the same terms and conditions as before.
In relation to day to day matters, we can confirm that:
The hours currently worked will remain the same
Planning & preparation time will be given and, at a minimum, remain the same
Term times will remain the same
How are the children affected?
In many ways the children will not notice any immediate difference, they will still be taught in a caring, learning environment, be in the same uniform, be in the same classrooms with the same teaching staff. We will continue to strive for an outstanding education for all our children. However, in time the children may notice changes and improvements in the way that they learn, resulting from the greater training opportunities given to teaching staff to innovate and improve the pupils’ learning.
Will we get more money as an Academy?
Academies receive the same amount of per-pupil funding as they would receive from the Local Authority as a maintained school.
All funding comes direct from Government to the Multi Academy Trust. The Board of Directors (appointed by the Diocese) then controls the overall budget. Each school will have the same funding allocation as they do now, but as a group the schools will be better able to maximise the funding available to them.
There will be additional funding to help the school meet all the legal costs and requirements in moving to academy status. This will not be funded by school budget.
WHAT IS A MULTI-ACADEMY TRUST (MAT)?
A multi-academy trust (MAT) is a a group of schools working in collaboration as one entity to improve and maintain high educational standards across the trust. The multi-academy trust is governed through a single set of members and directors.
HOW CAN GOVERNORS FIND OUT MORE BEFORE CHOOSING A MAT PREFERRED MODEL?
It is advisable that key governors and senior leaders come together to discuss their views before making a decision to set up or join a MAT. This kind of leadership visioning session can be very helpful.
WHO WILL BE THE EMPLOYER OF THE STAFF WHO WORK IN A MULTI-ACADEMY TRUST?
The Trust or the Sponsor will be the new employer, employee contracts are moved over to the Trust, this is called TUPE. TUPE is a complex process and it is recommended you seek advice from a HR specialist.
WHAT ARE THE REGULATIONS AND GOVERNANCE FOR A MAT?
There is no overriding education legislation that determines how MATs must be structured or managed. MATs are governed through their articles of association. The Department of Education has model documents to cover this including information about trustees and management. The MAT will set out its governance through an annual statement shared with key stakeholders. The key responsibilities for the operation of the MAT rest with its Members, Trustees and Local Governors.
WHO ARE MEMBERS OF A MULTI-ACADEMY TRUST?
Members are similar to shareholders of a company, who have rights under relevant company law. The members generally have powers to appoint some of the trustees and right to amend of the trust’s articles of association (subject to the consent of the Charity Commission). The members for the Trust are individuals or corporate sponsors that wish to be engaged for the long term. The DfE encourages trusts to have at least five members in total.
WHO ARE TRUSTEES OF A MULTI-ACADEMY TRUST?
The trustees are responsible for three core governance areas as performed by a governing body in a maintained school.
Providing the strategic direction and vision
Ensuring the headteacher delivers against expectations, objectives and achieves positive educational results
Financial responsibility and stability
The MAT has the structure of a charitable company and the trustees are therefore company directors, and must comply with company law requirements. Model EFA articles state the chair of the board of trustees will also be a member to provide a connection between the two levels. Members hold trustees to account. The board of trustees may choose to set up different committees covering key areas specifically, such as education standards and finance.
WILL MY SCHOOL STILL HAVE A LOCAL GOVERNING BODY IF WE JOIN A MULTI-ACADEMY TRUST?
Trustees can delegate governance functions down to the local level of the academy and therefore operate Local Governing Bodies (LGBs). Trustees have the discretion to determine what is delegated to each academy depending on its performance or operation. Individuals that sit on LGBs are often referred to as “local governors”.