English Martyrs Catholic Primary School
English Martyrs Catholic Primary School

Academy Consultation

Introduction

In June 2021, the Archbishop, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley wrote requesting every Catholic Voluntary Aided school under the Trust Deed of the Archdiocese of Birmingham joined a multi academy company of Catholic Schools by September 2022 or were to be in the process of doing so.

In a recent meeting  the Governing Body of English Martyrs Catholic Primary School voted in favour of initiating the consultation with our key stakeholders and submitting an application for an academy order to convert the school to and academy and join the Our Lady of the Magnificat Catholic Multi-Academy Company.  An Academy order would confirm whether the Department for Education (Dfe) was in principle supportive.

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Consultation

Consultation period is Monday 31 January to Friday 25 February 2022.

Consultation will last for four weeks concluding on 25 February 2022, so that everyone has time to consider the issues properly and, if they wish, to express their views using any of the following methods:

  • Responding using the online form here: Academy Consultation Response Form
  • Emailing the school office Please mark the subject as ‘Academy consultation’
  • Writing a letter to the school marked Academy consultation.

There will also be a stakeholder meeting on Wednesday 9 February 2022 for staff at 3.45pm and parents at 6.30pm. Questions must be submitted prior to the meeting. The deadline for submissions is Monday 7 February 2022, at 5.00pm. Submit any questions using the online form here: Academy Consultation Questions Form

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions about Academies

What is an Academy?

 Academies are schools that are state-funded and state-governed but are not under the direct control of the Local Authority (LA) and so have more independence over what they teach, how they operate and how they spend their budget. All academies are charities and therefore are entirely non-profit making.

What is a multi-academy company?

A MAC is a group of two or more academy schools working in a legally agreed formal collaboration called a Multi-Academy Company.  The MAC is the legal employer for all staff and determines a number of common practices and procedures across the MAC, whilst still encouraging each academy to have its own individual identity.   The MAC is run by a Catholic Senior Executive Leader (CSEL/CEO) with a Headteacher or Head of School in each member academy.  The CSEL/CEO is held responsible by the Board of Directors.  For more information on the Our Lady of the Magnificat please visit the website: Our Lady of the Magnificat – Catholic Multi Academy

 What is the position nationally on academies?

The Labour government introduced the first academy schools in 2002. At the time, academies were only for long-term under-achieving secondary schools in inner city areas and for brand new secondary schools in areas where there was a shortage of high achieving schools. They were sponsored by charitable organisations such as religious bodies, or by entrepreneurs and companies. The Conservative-led coalition government moved quickly after the election in 2010 to offer academy status to all good and outstanding schools and introduced the free schools programme (legally a free school is an academy).

At the start of September 2020, over 9,200 schools had become academies, 43% of state funded schools were operating as academies, 4.2million pupils were educated at academies..

The Government has repeatedly said that it hopes all schools will become academies.

Consultation and Decision Making

Whose decision is it whether or not we become an academy?

In June 2021, His Grace the Most Rev. Archbishop Bernard Longley wrote requesting every Catholic Voluntary Aided school under the Trust Deed of the Archdiocese of Birmingham joined a multi academy company of Catholic Schools by September 2022 or were to be in the process of doing so.  The Dfe and the Regional School Commissioner for the area can accept or delay an application to convert.

Is everything already decided?

No.  Applying, or even having the application accepted in principle, does not automatically mean that the school will become an Academy.  At any point up to the signing of the Funding Agreement the Governing Body or the Dfe could decide to delay the process.

Who will the Governing Body be consulting?

 The Governing Body will be consulting with all staff at the school, parents and various other stakeholders, local schools, and other community members.

How will you be consulting?  How can I share my views?

 You can respond to the online form provided on this web page (above).  You can also write to or email the school.  Please put ‘Academy consultation’ in the subject line in the email or on the front of the envelope.

What will you do with any responses you 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 and posted on the school website.

The question I want to ask is not in the Q&A section of the website.  How can I ask my question and get an answer?

 Questions can be submitted with using the question form on the school website,  email or by letter as described above.  Questions received before the consultation meetings will be answered at the meetings.

Impact on Pupils and Parents

My child has special educational needs.  I am concerned that this might mean changes for the worse.

The motivation for the proposed changes is securing and improving the standard of education that the school is able to provide to all children. The Governing Body is not aware of any reason why the educational experience offered to any group should not be maintained and improved through joining the Multi-Academy. There is no reason why children with special educational needs should experience negative changes.

All academies must comply with the legally binding Code of Practice on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and that is the ‘safeguard’ that all pupils and parents will continue to have.

What will change if we become an academy and what will stay the same?

The educational experience for children would continue to improve through initiatives that are developed or supported by the teaching staff , supported by the expertise, networking and best practice being part of Multi-Academy will bring. There are no plans to change the school uniform or any other day-to-day arrangements.

Will it be harder for local families to get their children into the school?

 Conversion to an academy should not influence the admissions process because all academies have to comply with the legally binding Code of Practice on School Admissions in exactly the same way as state-maintained schools. Academies are still required to comply with the relevant codes in respect of admissions, exclusions and special education needs.

General Questions

If the school becomes and academy, how will it affect other schools?

The decision to academise and join the Multi-Academy is not likely to affect other local schools, which may be considering their own future options and acting accordingly. It is possible that other local Catholic schools might express an interest in joining the Multi-Academy.

How will becoming an academy affect the school’s finances?

In LA controlled schools, the LA provides the school’s budget and retains a proportion of that budget to fund some central functions. Maintained schools also purchase some services from the LA such as payroll services, financial management systems and buildings maintenance. Schools then choose how to spend the rest of their budget. The vast majority of a school’s budget is spent on staffing and essential services, such as utilities. Academies receive their entire budget directly from central government from the Education and Skills Funding Agency without any ‘top slice’ being taken by an LA. An academy is then free to choose how to purchase services. Academies can still opt to buy services from the LA if they choose. Academies are therefore responsible for securing best-value in the procurement of a wide-range of supplies and services. A MAC is funded by a contribution of a certain percentage of the participating schools’ budgets. As larger organisations, MACs should be able to realise economies of scale that lead to savings for individual schools, through such activities as joint purchasing and procurement.

What will be the impact on the staff?

One of the ‘freedoms’ afforded to academies is the right to set their own terms for staff pay and conditions. Understandably this is, and has always been, an issue of great concern for all teaching and support staff and their unions.

The Governing Body wants to make it clear that we fully recognise and appreciate the enormous effort and commitment of current School staff in contributing to the school’s success and our pupils’ outcomes. The concerns and welfare of our staff have been very much to the fore throughout the Governing Body’s deliberations.

It is quite clearly in the best interests of the school and our pupils, in particular, to continue to have motivated, contented and engaged staff and this remains a priority for the Governing Body throughout this process. Although academies have the freedom to set their own pay and conditions, the Multi-Academy Board has no plans to move away from the present nationally agreed pay and conditions. In any case all current staff at the school have the right to retain their present posts, as well as conditions of service, should the school become an academy as a result of the TUPE regulations.

What is TUPE?

All qualifying staff would transfer from the employment of the LA to the employment of the Multi-Academy. Qualifying staff are generally those who have contracts of employment at a converting school on the date of conversion to academy status. This transfer takes place within the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) for staff transfer, which ensures that staff retain all of their existing rights, terms and conditions and pension arrangements, including continuity of service. The pension arrangements for staff would be unaffected by the transfer.

The TUPE Regulations provide that the current employer’s rights and obligations arising from a contract of employment existing on the date of transfer shall, by reason of such transfer, be transferred to the new employer. Staff are able to respond to the consultation as part of the academisation process, including a meeting for all staff to discuss their views. In addition, there will be a further formal consultation process (involving trade unions) as stipulated by the TUPE regulations.