Becoming an Academy
The government outlines 4 key advantages for schools that become academies:
- Freedom from Local Authority control
- Ability to set your own pay and conditions for staff
- Freedoms around the delivery of the curriculum
- Ability to change the lengths of terms and school days
Responses to each of these can be found below.
Freedom from the Local Authority
As a Community School we do work very closely with the Local Authority and there are certain aspects that they currently have direct control over such as buildings and land. All staff are also currently employed by the London Borough of Sutton. As an academy we would have control over all aspects of the school. Currently, the school is responsible for decision-making on a day to day basis and as an academy the autonomy we would have to make decisions with regard to all areas of the school would increase, ensuring that decisions are made for the greatest benefit of the school community.
The school would still be subject to external scrutiny and Ofsted inspection and ultimately responsible to the Secretary of State for Education.
Academy Status does not mean we are forced to change our name or re-brand ourselves. Any decision to do so would be our own choice. We have total control over all decision-making, there is no outside sponsor. The school will continue to have its own character and look and feel as it is now.
Being at the heart of our local community
The current admissions arrangements would be maintained. We are an inclusive learning community that is proud to admit students of all abilities and offering places to local children. Under our current specialism we have the opportunity to select up to 10% of our intake but have not chosen to do so.
We have worked hard to develop close partnerships with a range of businesses and community organisations. We are totally committed to sustain that work, being a hub at the heart of our local area.
The most important advantage to the school is financial. In becoming an Academy the school would receive a grant in the region of £308,000 per year. This grant is called the ‘Local Authority Central Spend Equivalent Grant’ or LACSEG.
We would need to use some of this money to provide services that we use currently provided by the Local Authority, however we would expect to be in a position where we are able to use a major part of this funding for our school priorities.
We have been made very aware of likely cuts in our current budget given the national economic climate, possibly up to as much as 10% of our current budget (or almost £500,000) over 3 years. The additional revenue provided through academy status would help us cushion the effect of these cuts which otherwise could only be absorbed by cutting staffing and resources and thus support for students. The LACSEG grant would help us maintain our educational provision; this includes both teaching and support posts to meet curriculum, educational and administrative needs.
Ability to set pay and conditions for staff
The school currently adopts pay and conditions according to national agreements. For teaching staff the governors would ensure the current School Teachers Pay and Conditions remain in place for existing and any future new staff.
For support staff paid on the NJC scale, we intend to continue our current practice of using local authority pay-scales as benchmarks and passing on nationally agreed annual increments; we will apply the national agreements without variation for current support staff, as well as future staff appointed to similar roles.
As a school we constantly seek to develop a curriculum that meets the needs of all our students being mindful of the external constraints placed on us by performance tables and government indicators. Our recent Ofsted report cited our curriculum as good and meeting the needs of our students well. As an academy our ethos of maximising student achievement through the curriculum will continue.
Setting of term dates
We will seek to continue to set our dates in line with other schools. We understand the difficulties mismatched term dates can cause for families and therefore there would be no change to our current policy.