Welcome back and Academisation FAQs
Welcome back, I hope you all had a fantastic festive break and New Year.
It was great to spend some time with the parents and carers of our Year 11 cohort last night at parents evening. As a class teacher I always appreciate the chance to speak to parents/carers in private about how students are doing, and it’s brilliant when everyone is so clearly pulling in the same direction. Year 11 are shaping up well and have the potential to achieve very highly in the summer exams, and of course we will be there supporting them as best we possibly can.
I thought I’d use the opportunity of this blog to cover a few of the questions that have come back in following the launch of our academisation consultation on Monday. These questions have come from various sources including parents, staff and students – and there is no such thing as a silly question!
I hope they help,
1) Is it the case that only failing schools become academies?
When modern academies were first created before 2010, they were indeed for those schools that were deemed to be failing. However, for the past decade or more any school has been able to convert to academy status should they wish to. For example the majority of secondary schools have now done so (the proportion is 80%), including some of the very best schools in the country. The majority of schools who convert do so voluntarily and from a position of strength, which is the case here. Marple Hall School and Romiley Primary School are both solidly ‘good’ schools according to Ofsted, with strong educational outcomes in both schools in recent years.
2) Will the school lose autonomy?
At the moment the school is officially controlled by the Local Authority in Stockport, but in reality we are very independent. However should MHS join another, existing Multi Academy Trust, then the school may well lose a lot of that autonomy. Therefore by forming our own MAT we ensure we retain independence and the ability to make our own decisions, and in fact will gain even more independence than before.
3) Will the school name and/or uniform change?
No, not at all. This is the benefit of forming our own MAT alongside Romiley Primary School. Both schools will retain their unique features, they will keep the current uniform and the school name
4) Will the schools get more money?
Yes, and no, at the same time! No because the amount of funding allocated per pupil at each school won’t change. We’ll get the same funds compared to what we would have done as a Local Authority school. However, we will be able to negotiate our own contracts for products and services, and we know from the past decade of already doing this that we can often find better services and cheaper prices than are available through the LA. Also, as an academy, we will be eligible to access more money to improve our buildings and grounds than is open to LA schools. At the moment we have to use some of our base funding to fix issues with the site and buildings, and so by accessing other pots of money for this we will be able to spend more on educating the students. So, even though per pupil funding will not rise, we may well have more to spend as a school overall.
5) Why haven’t other primary schools been asked to join?
We’re keen to work with all local primary schools and would be happy to have conversations with headteachers and governors. We respect that every school has its own decision to make about academisation between now and 2030 (when all schools are, in theory, supposed to have converted) but we’re happy to speak to all local schools when convenient to them.