Academy Discussion - FAQ
Over the past four years our schools have worked together to develop teaching, learning and leadership. This close partnership working has had many benefits and has been noted as a strength in several OFSTED inspection reports. Now as the educational landscape has changed and is continuing to change we are investigating if formalising our partnership and creating a Multi Academy Trust would have further benefits to our schools, staff and most importantly our children.
We understand that potential change of any kind can often cause concern and unrest so we have put together this frequently asked question document to be as transparent as possible; we hope it helps. We do not have all the answers yet as we are only in the early stages of exploring the possibilities but please be assured as soon as we have information to share we will do so.
Headteachers of NEXUS
Q. What are the reasons for considering becoming an academy?
A. We are investigating forming an academy trust to assess the benefits of:
- Greater curriculum freedoms
- Increased opportunities for collaboration and development for staff – increased retention of staff
- Increased opportunities for innovation and school improvement
- Greater financial control and ability to share costs
- Greater ability to support other schools in difficulty
Q. Are you being forced to become academies or taken over?
A. No – we are investigating creating a new Multi Academy Trust (MAT)
Q. How far along the process are the schools?
A. Only in the initial stages of exploration. So far we have only had 2 meetings between the Headteachers to discuss what the educational benefits might or might not be; 2 meetings between the Chairs of the Governing Bodies to discuss what information is needed to make our decision; a trip by some Chairs, HTs and Business Managers to the Academy Show in London to find out what being an Academy entails; and a meeting between Headteachers and a consultant to discuss what legal, financial and contractual areas need considering.
Q. Will parents and the school community be consulted?
A. Yes – should the Headteachers and governors decide that forming a MAT would benefit all of our schools and children a full consultation will be held.
Q. Are all of the schools definitely becoming academies?
A. No – at this stage we are simply looking at the pros and cons of creating an academy trust and how it would benefit our children and staff. It might be that all or none of the schools decide it is right for them or maybe only a selection of the NEXUS schools may decide it is right for them. The only definite is our commitment to improvement through collaboration.
Q. Why are NEXUS schools exploring academy status now?
A. The local authority, as most other local authorities, is ever reducing its service and support to schools. Also there is not currently a primary school focused academy locally so when schools are facing forced academisation due to OFSTED judgements, such as The Meadows or Tyndale, these schools are often taken by larger academies and out of South Gloucestershire.
Q. Will the schools change their names?
Q. Will the schools change their uniforms?
Q. Would all schools become the same?
A. No – it is a core principle of all the school leaders that each school would retain its unique character; it’s what makes NEXUS schools special.
Q. How would forming an academy trust impact on staff?
A. We would hope positively; one of our main drivers is to improve professional development and career progression for all staff. Just as now we would want our schools to be the employers of choice and would want to continue with the teachers’ pay and conditions.
Q. Why have Kings’ Forest decided to step away?
A. Timing; Kings’ Forest have been supporting Staple Hill Primary for the last year and have agreed to continue that partnership for another year. Kings’ Forest are still part of the academy exploration and all discussions so that they would be able to join at a later date. They will still continue to work in collaboration with the rest of NEXUS.
Q. Will the mix of church and non-church schools be an issue?
A. Possibly – We would hope to create a mixed MAT but part of our investigation is to talk to the diocese and explore any potential problems. However, we do know that no school would change is designation.
Q. How long would the process take?
A. At this stage we do not know. We want to ensure that nothing is rushed therefore if we did decide to move forward with forming a MAT it would be unlikely to be before September 2019.
Q. Why are some unions taking an interest in our schools potentially creating a MAT?
A. Some unions have a default stance to oppose all academies. At this stage no union has spoken directly with school leaders to gather our views or gauge our current position. Should we move to the consultation stage we would of course engage with the unions. The current social media and leafletting campaign are not being led by our parents.