Academy Conversion

18th March 2016

Academy FAQs

 

Academy Conversion - Questions and Answers for Parents/Carers

 

A huge thank you to all of our parents/carers who attended the recent meeting regarding the possibility of academy conversion. Following recent notification from the Department for Education (DfE), I can now confirm that the process of conversion has begun and we are hopeful for a conversion date for the 1st July 2016.

The following questions and answers have been compiled to aid the consultation programme specifically with Parents/Carers in mind.  They are not exhaustive and it is intended that the list will evolve as additional questions arise. If you would like to ask a question, please e-mail: fatfield.primary@schools.sunderland.gov.uk

We will endeavour to answer your question and add it to this list for others to view.

 

How will the governing body be elected and operate under the Academy setup?

 

The governing body will continue to be elected and operate as they are at present. However, their main focus will be to ensure that the Leadership and Management of the school is held accountable for Teaching and Learning.

 

Will it cost the parents more money?

 

No, our plans do not include anything that should result in increased parental costs. In due course, the Academy Trust may consider a new school uniform, but there are no plans to do so at this time. A new school badge will be designed by our children once conversion has taken place as we will be known as 'Fatfield Academy Inspires.'

 

Will the school day or term change?

 

Although Academy status would mean the school would have complete autonomy on these decisions, there are no plans at the moment to change these factors. 

 

Will the schools be moving to a new location?

 

No, the school will remain where it is at present.

 

Will children with special needs still get help from outside the school? Who will decide what help they get?

 

SEND students have statutory rights and these will remain unchanged. As now, we and the Local Authority will decide support levels.

 

Will the cost of trips go up?

 

Not as a result of being an Academy. We will continue to ask for a parental contribution for Educational Visits at the market costs.

 

Will class sizes go up?

 

Not as a direct result of becoming an Academy. Other factors such as increase in catchment area population may cause class sizes to rise, but being an Academy will enable the schools to plan their own response to this issue.

 

Will the same subjects be on offer?

 

Yes. Being an Academy means that the Governing body can choose its own curriculum, rather than being dictated to. There will therefore be greater opportunities for subject area development.

 

Will you change the entry criteria? Will you become selective in choosing pupils? Will you change the catchment area?

 

The intention of Fatfield Academy is that it would admit all those children who live within the Fatfield community. All Academies are required to adopt clear and fair admission arrangements in line with the admissions law and the School Admissions Code. When a school converts to become an Academy, it will be the admission authority who is responsible for its own admission arrangements. This means the Academy will need to manage its own admissions process. It will involve periodic consultation and regularly publishing the Academy’s admission arrangements. Applications for school places will still be made to the Local Authority, who will notify the Academy of the application.

 

Are parents going to be included in the decision making process?

 

There has already been a consultation process explaining to parents, pupils, staff and the wider community, what we are proposing and why. Parents’ opinions are valuable when making a decision of this nature. If you missed the initial meeting and the time period, you can still let us know your thoughts or ask further questions by emailing us at: fatfield.primary@schools.sunderland.gov.uk

 

Will parents have to start paying more for clubs etc?

 

No.  Costs to parents will continue to be calculated based on whether the clubs are ran by staff or external agencies and will be at market costs.

 

Who do I complain to if I’m not happy with the school – it used to be the Local Authority?

 

The complaints procedure will remain the same, although it might be that ultimately a complaint will be directed to the Multi Academy Trust rather than the Local Authority. Following conversion, Fatfield Academy will make its complaints procedure available on request; it will also be available to download the schools website.

 

Will the school have enough money to pay for the services it needs?

 

Yes; the bottom line is that we will not be financially disadvantaged by a move to Academy status and are likely to receive more funding – at least in the short term. Academies receive the same level of per‐pupil funding as they would receive from the Local Authority currently, plus additional money to cover the services that are no longer provided for them by the Local Authority. The Government is clear that becoming an Academy should not bring about a financial advantage or disadvantage to a school. However, Academies have greater freedom on how they use their budgets, alongside the other freedoms that they enjoy.

Keeping standards high and improving current standards will remain our aim and indeed are reasons why the Governing Body unanimously agreed for Academy Status to go ahead.