What is an academy?
An academy is a publicly funded independent school that provides an excellent free education to local students of all abilities. They provide a teaching and learning environment that is in line with the best in the maintained sector and offer a broad and balanced curriculum to students of all abilities, focusing especially on one or more subject areas (specialisms).
What benefits can an academy bring?
As well as providing the best opportunities for the most able students and those needing additional support, academies have a key part to play in the regeneration of communities and raising standards through innovative approaches to management, governance, teaching and the curriculum.
As an individual academy there is freedom for the Headteacher and governing body to decide how it is run, how money is budgeted, how staff is paid and how the curriculum is delivered to the pupils ensuring that specific needs of the pupils are met.
How do we know they will work?
Academies in place elsewhere have shown an improvement already with GCSE results increasing an average of 11.5 percentage points – double the national average – on 5 A*-C grades.
How are academies managed?
They are run by an appointed Principal and senior leadership team, all of whom are supported by a governing body. This body is selected by a charitable Trust, which has strategic oversight of the academies.
What happens to my children at a school wishing to become an academy?
Pupils in such a position will transfer with the school to the academy without any need for them or their parents to do anything.
Will a proposed new academy have a new name?
This will be decided on an individual basis by consultation amongst staff and parents.
Will a proposed new academy have a new uniform?
It is likely that there will be some change to the uniform although the MAT will consult on this regarding individual schools and make parents aware of their final decision.
Will a proposed new academy still be open to community groups?
Since an academy seeks to be at the heart of a community it will therefore collaborate and share with other groups, schools and the wider community in things such as facilities, expertise, support and advise.
How will an academy raise achievement?
The running of the academy will be based on the belief that everybody can achieve and that learning should be both exciting and smart. A high quality of leadership, providing staff and students with a brand new learning environment and a whole range of initiatives to support teachers, pupils and their families will be used in order to increase achievement.
Furthermore, in order to improve on the schools’ existing successes, the national curriculum will be followed where particular care is undertaken to help create a personalised programme for each student creating opportunities for everyone to achieve.
How will an academy respond to children with special needs or those who are talented or gifted?
The academy will recognise that each child is different but has the right to be included as a valued, respected and equal member of the learning community. Therefore the Academy will work within the framework of the Local Authority’s SEN policies to help them where they can.
How is the Rochester Diocesan MAT linked to the Diocese of Rochester?
The Rochester Diocesan Board of Education has created the Rochester Diocesan Academy Trust to sponsor its Church schools who wish to become academies. The DBE appoints Foundation directors to the Board of the trust
Will pupils’ education be affected by a transition to academy status?
When an academy is approved to go ahead, it will do so with minimal disruption to the staff and students. This will be ensured by a detailed programme being created in order to outline the step-by-step guide on the progress. The main priority is to ensure the safe working environment for both staff and students while work is being undertaken whilst providing a first class standard of education.
How long is a sponsor committed to an academy?
Although there is no anticipated time limit for the Diocese to carry on its sponsorship, it has had a long standing commitment to education in its parish for over 100 years and so this is expected to continue.
What would happen if a proposed sponsor no longer wishes to be the sponsor?
In the unlikely event that the Diocese chooses to withdraw its sponsor of the academy, two year’s notice must be given and then the responsibility of the academy falls to the Secretary of State.
How is an academy funded and does this improve on current funding arrangements?
Academies receive the same level of per-pupil funding as maintained schools, plus funding to meet additional responsibilities that are no longer provided for them by the local authority. Headteachers and governors in academies have greater freedom over how they use these budgets to best benefit their students.
The Diocese, although does not provide any funding to the academies itself, will be looking at how all the funding available to the school is used, including that previously retained by the local authority. The Diocese will be seeking to find efficiencies that allow for more resources to be made available to the academy.
Who would own an academy building and site?
The site is owned by the Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) and will continue to be held in trust as it is at present to allow the current school to operate. This relationship is formalised with the Academy Trust via a Supplemental Agreement document.
Who would an academy governing body be accountable to?
The governing body of an academy is contractually accountable to the Secretary of State. The Trust is then required to publish procedures of its meetings. As a company limited by guarantee, the academy must prepare and file an independently audited annual report and accounts with Companies House. The Trust must also hold a public annual general meeting.
Would anyone apart from the sponsor have a say about who is on the Governing Body?
A school’s Funding Agreement requires there to be a Local Authority governor (nominated by the local council) and a parent governor (elected) on the governing body. Any further governors are at the sponsor’s discretion but could include a community governor, a staff governor and a student representative.
Will the school hours be any different as an academy?
Although it is unlikely that the school day will be changed, it is the decision of the individual academy to decide this as they have the power to do so. Parents will be consulted on this prior to a decision being made.
How will parents be represented?
An elected parent governor will be represented on the governing body as a requirement
Rochester board of education – http://www.rochester-board-of-education.co.uk/
Inspection reports on our Academies – www.ofsted.gov.uk
Find out about the performance of our academies at – http://dashboard.ofsted.gov.uk/
Access school improvement services from Cambridge Education – http://www.camb-ed.co.uk/
Guidance and statutory policies from the Department for Education at – https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education
National College for Teaching & Leadership – https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/national-college-for-teaching-and-leadership