Academisation - The White Hills Park Trust
As you may already be aware, the Governing Body of John Clifford Primary and Nursery School applied to become an academy under the Academies Act 2010 and has now been issued with an Academy Order by the Secretary of State (agreeing to it becoming part of an academy) and is proposing to join The White Hills Park Trust. Further information about what becoming an academy means, and how to comment on the proposals, is set out below.
Will John Clifford Primary and Nursery School definitely become an Academy?
The Governing Body has received an Academy Order from the Secretary of State agreeing for it to become part of an academy and is working towards a conversion early in 2021. However, the school is not obligated to become an academy until the contract between the academy trust and the Department for Education (known as the Funding Agreement) is signed.
The academy trust will not sign the Funding Agreement until parents and carers of pupils at the school, staff at the school, pupils themselves and other stakeholders have had the opportunity to comment on whether the conversion should take place. We are writing to all interested parties and are also inviting you to a meeting on at John Clifford Primary and Nursery School, to learn more about the proposals to become an academy, or to comment on the proposals on 17th November 2020.
We are also holding meetings with staff, and will be keeping pupils informed throughout the process.
Any comments or representations which are made about the proposals will be considered by the academy trust before a decision is taken to sign the Funding Agreement. Details of how to provide comments and representations are set out below.
The academy trust will not sign the Funding Agreement unless they are content that conversion would be in the best interests of the school taking account of all of the legal and practical ramifications.
What is an academy?
An academy is essentially an independent school which is funded by the state. It is independent of the local authority and receives its funding direct from central government.
It is proposed that John Clifford Primary and Nursery School will become an academy as part of The White Hills Park Trust. This means that the school will be part of an academy group comprising John Clifford Primary and Nursery School, Springbank Academy, The Florence Nightingale Academy, Alderman White School and Bramcote College.
What are the benefits of being an academy?
In John Clifford Primary and Nursery School’s opinion the benefits are numerous:
- The trust will have a central focus on professional development for our staff so that we can continually improve our teaching and learning.
- Academies are independent of local authority control – this means that academies have more freedom about how they conduct themselves.
- Academies receive their funding direct from central government – this means that academies receive more funding because none is retained by the local authority for the provision of central services.
- Academies have more freedom over the curriculum taught – this means that academies do not need to teach parts of the National Curriculum which they do not consider appropriate for their pupils.
Are there any disadvantages to becoming an academy?
The White Hills Park Trust (WHPT) will be directly liable for matters such as insurance, employment liabilities, pensions, health and safety and property maintenance. However, as mentioned above, academies receive more funding from central government to help them meet these additional costs.
Will the admissions arrangements change?
As an academy, WHPT will put in place admission arrangements and decide which pupils should be offered places in accordance with those arrangements. The academy will still be bound by the National Admissions Code and Admissions Appeals Code.
There are no plans to change current admission arrangements.
If the academy wanted to change its admission arrangements, consultation would be required.
Will staff leave?
If the school converts to an academy, all staff currently employed by the local authority will automatically transfer to the new academy on their current pay and conditions. Although the academy will have more freedom to amend those pay and conditions in the future, the Governing Body does not intend to take such a step in the foreseeable future and in any event, any change to pay and conditions would need to be consulted upon with staff representatives.
Will John Clifford Primary and Nursery School change?
We do not intend to change our school except in ways which we think will improve it even more. For children, it is unlikely that they will see much, if any, change in their day to day school lives.
Academies do have the power to vary their curriculums and vary the length of the school day, however, it is not intended to take any such steps at this stage and we would engage with parents/carers, staff and children if we did ever intend to make such changes in the future.
How can I find out more?
A meetings will be arranged by John Clifford Primary and Nursery School as indicated above on 17th November 2020. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a space.
We would encourage you to attend if you have any questions, or simply want to learn more.
There is also more information about academies on the DfE website: http://www.education.gov.uk/academies
If you can’t find the answer to your question here, or on the DfE website, and cannot attend the meetings, please email: email@example.com Letters can also be left at the school office addressed to ‘Academy Consultation’. A full reply document to all queries, whether at meetings, from emails or letters, will be available once the consultation period has completed.
To respond to this consultation on whether the school’s academy conversion should take place, please follow this link which will take you to the consultation response page.
The closing date for representations to be made is Friday 18th December 2020.
Simon Hogg - Chair of Governors
Janine Waring – Headteacher