Dear Parents, Carers and other Stakeholders,
You will know from Newsletter 7 that the Governing Body has been exploring opportunities for partnerships, in line with the shift of government policy to introduce universal academisation.
After careful consideration, a resolution has been made by the Governing Body to apply to convert to academy status, with our preferred sponsor being the Diocese of Bath & Wells Multi Academy Trust (BWMAT).
This information sheet is being provided for stakeholders in order to answer questions about academies and to reassure stakeholders that the Governors of St Georges VA Church Primary School consider academy status to be the best option for the children, staff and wider community.
What is an academy?
Academies are publicly funded, independently run schools that are not managed by a local authority. They are still required to follow law and guidance concerning statutory requirements such as admissions, special educational needs and exclusions, and to collaborate and share facilities with other schools and the wider community.
The academy framework is designed to promote innovation, raise school standards and increase levels of achievement for all children. The Academies Act passed in July 2010 made it possible for all maintained schools – primary and secondary – to apply to become academies. Schools cannot acquire or remove their faith character, expand, become mixed or single sex or introduce selection as part of the conversion process.
A multi academy trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee. All academies in a multi academy trust are governed by one trust and a single board of directors. The board is responsible for decisions relating to how each academy is run. The BWMAT will establish a Local Governing Body for each of its academies, to which it will delegate some of its functions, although the BWMAT remains accountable for these functions.
Once established, academies are funded directly by central government instead of receiving funds via a local authority.
Why become an academy?
Converting to academy status will provide increased autonomy, along with the ability to learn and share best practice with other successful schools. It recognises the shift in power from local authorities to schools.
What are the realistic options for St Georges VA Church Primary School?
Become part of a multi academy trust:
Within a geographic area.
Part of a corporate provider – but St Georges would lose autonomy (for example, curriculum and local concerns).
Remain a church school within the Diocese – preferred option.
Why has the Governing Body of St Georges decided to join the Bath & Wells Multi Academy Trust?
Full support package and the sharing of good practice with other successful schools.
Shared values and ethos.
Maintain the unique character of our school.
Maintain our established partnership with the Diocese and with our Baptist and Methodist foundations.
There are currently 13 primary schools across North Somerset, BANES and Somerset who have successfully joined the BWMAT.
We are hoping to convert on 1st July 2016. We do not anticipate any significant changes in the day-to-day running of the school.
As announced last term in Newsletter 13, we will be holding two meetings for parents and carers on Monday, 25th April, at 2.30pm and 6.30pm, and we hope that these meetings will answer any questions you may have. Both sessions will be the same, but we are holding the meeting twice to give as many of you the opportunity to attend as possible. Each meeting should last no longer than 45 minutes. We can offer childcare for the 2.30 meeting, but this must be booked in advance. We are not planning to offer childcare for the 6.30 meeting – but if this means you can’t attend, please speak to Mrs Kennedy in the school office.
This letter signifies the start of a formal consultation process that will end at 9am on Friday 3rd June 2016.
For further information on the Bath & Wells MAT, please go to: www.bathandwellsmat.org
The Governing Body of St Georges VA Church Primary School