1. Whose decision is it whether or not we become an academy?
The decision to apply to become an academy lies with the school’s governing body. The decision to accept or reject the application lies with the Department of for Education (DfE) and the Regional School Commissioner for the South East.
2. Is everything already decided?
No. Governors are using the consultation period to collect information and to hear views from staff and stakeholders. This will help them make an informed decision in the best interests of the school and its pupils. There will be a vote on whether to proceed at the full governors meeting on 14 December 2017.
Applying, or even having the application accepted in principle, does not automatically mean that Richard Cloudesley School will become an academy. There is a period of roughly four months for development, consultation and consideration of the issues once an application has been accepted in principle. At any point up to the signing of the Funding Agreement, the governing body or the DfE could decide to stop the process.
3. What does the process of becoming an academy entail?
Initially, schools register their interest in becoming an academy online with the DfE. A school then completes and submits an application to become an academy to the DfE and notifies the LEA of their decision. When the Secretary of State for Education, and the Regional Schools Commissioner approves the school’s application to convert, they issue an Academy Order. A school must consult with parents, staff and all other stakeholders about its proposal to become an academy. The school’s governing body will take account of any issues raised during the consultation process before making its final decision about whether to convert to an academy. Only when the resolution to convert has been passed by the governing body is a funding agreement entered into between the academy trust and the Secretary of State for Education.
4. Who will the Governing Bodygoverning body be consulting?
The Governing Bodygoverning body will be consulting with:
• Staff and their trade union representatives
• Local schools
• The LEA
• The local community
• Challenge Partner hub schools
• Teaching school partner schools
• Social care providers
• Health providers
• All members of Islington’s Disability Strategy Board
5. How will you be consulting? How can I share my views?
We will be holding a drop-in consultation evening where the governing body and head teacher will be available to listen to your views and answer any further questions that you may have.
You can email the governing body at any time at:
Please put ‘Academy Consultation’ in the subject line in the email.
You can also put your views and questions in writing. These should be passed to the school office in a sealed envelope marked ‘Private and confidential – academy proposal’ and will be passed to the chair of governors.
6. Do schools have to cover the cost of conversion to academy status?
The DfE pays a flat-rate grant of £25,000 into the school’s bank account after an academy order has been issued to cover the costs of conversion.
7. What will you do with any responses you receive to the consultation?get?
The responses will be reviewed by the governing body, and therefore will be a factor in the decision-making process. Responses will be made to each question raised either directly, or through drop-in meetings, and an updated FAQ document that will be hosted on the school’s website page located here: www.cloudesley.islington.sch.uk
8. Have we looked at other MATs to join?
A key factor is the success of a MAT is proximity. The only two local MATs that include special schools are Swiss Cottage School and The Bridge London Trust. As we have a long-standing relationship with The Bridge London Trust, and they have put forward this proposal, this is what we are consulting on at this time. The Bridge London are a new MAT who we have a lot in common with.