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Academy Conversion update - June 2019

 

UPDATE ON CONVERSION TO ACADEMY STATUS

Following the consultation on conversion to Academy Status (September - October 2017), as part of the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST), our application has been on hold with the Department for Education and with ODST for an extended period.

 

In the time which has elapsed since consultation, a lot has changed:

 

  • The "Academy Agenda" which was being actively pursued by government has become less of a priority;
  • The support which we receive from Oxfordshire County Council has been increased, with a focus on our own school improvement;
  • Working in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council and their well-targeted support, St Michael's CE Primary School has now been judged as good.

 

In these circumstances, the school has decided that it would be prudent to remain a maintained school, operating within the existing control of Oxfordshire County Council, and the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education.

 

If, in the future, we feel that we should once again investigate conversion to Academy Status, then another full consultation with stakeholders will be carried out.

Additional Questions and Answers Raised during the Consultation in 2017

 

Who makes the decision on the appointment of governors? Can the trust get rid of existing school Governors? What procedures are involved?

  • Decisions regarding the appointment of Governors would remain unchanged. The mix of Parent, Foundation, LA & Staff Governors would be the same, and through a scheme of delegation the powers and accountability of the Governing Body would be very similar. In exceptional circumstances (eg: the school being judged as inadequate) ODST could remove the Governing Body and replace it. However, this would also be a possibility for an LA maintained school.

 

What power does the trust have to make decisions about the running of the school? If for example the trust decided everyone had to use yellow pencils and you fundamentally disagreed with the use of yellow pencils, can the school object/refuse?

  • As an academy, the school would have more flexibility regarding the curriculum delivered, but would have to ensure that it remained broad and balanced. We see the breadth of curriculum as a strength, and do not intend to change this. ODST have been very clear that they wish every school to maintain it's own unique character, and Governors feel that this is very important. A practical example ODST have cited is that they would never ask uniforms to be changed. They will work with each school - taking the school's self-evaluation into account - but will treat each school individually.

 

If in say a year the school decides it doesn't want to be part of the trust can you just leave? Or once we're in are we in?

  • If the school opts to become an academy, it will not be able to revert back to LA control later on. However, if the relationship with ODST did not work, the school would be able to leave ODST and join another trust. The due diligence carried out by Governors has been done on the basis that the school is looking for the best long-term option for the school.

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