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Wednesday 14 September 2011

Don’t they have to consult?

Hi, This contact is a bit late primarily because I had no idea that our school had applied for Academy status. About a year ago parents received a letter from school telling us that the Governors were thinking about possibly becoming an Academy and asking us what we thought about it. I replied to the letter stating clearly what I thought about the idea but apparently very few parents replied. This is not surprising really when most people have little idea as to what Academies are, other than it sounds ‘posh’. Yesterday parents received a letter from the Governors saying that the school was becoming an Academy on the 1st August.

Nobody knew anything about an application or any details. It was kept completely secret from parents and students. I have written to the Governors on the issue and I have contacted the local press who knew nothing about the proposal and I contacted the Director of Children’s Services who new about the application but was opposed to it.

Can the Governors, do this without any consultation process? Don’t they have to consult and inform and at least hold a meeting?

I can’t remove my son from the school because he is just finishing year ten and is half way through his GCSE’s. Also there isn’t another 6th form in the area.

What can those opposed to the decision do?

6 answers – add yours below

  1. Pete said:

    Unfortunately the Academies Act is so vague about consultation that many schools think they can just drive conversions through.

    There is a growing feeling that this is illegal. There are a couple of cases that are starting to challenge this in the courts.

    I think there are a few things you can still do.

    Firstly let the school know that there are legal cases beginning over failed consultations, and perhaps let them think this could happen to them (it could!).

    I also think that although it is so late in the day it is worth getting up a petition and perhaps a public meeting. In a few cases recently schools have postponed the decision as a result of parent campaigning – partly because they don’t want to be challenged in the courts.

    We would be happy to help with literature and speakers.

    I hope this helps, please let me know how the situation progresses.

    14 September 2011 at 11:25am
  2. Jane said:

    The Academies Act 2010 has this to say about consultation:
    5 Consultation on conversion
    (1) Before a maintained school in England is converted into an Academy, the
    school’s governing body must consult such persons as they think appropriate.
    (2) The consultation must be on the question of whether the school should be
    converted into an Academy.
    (3) The consultation may take place before or after an Academy order, or an
    application for an Academy order, has been made in respect of the school.

    This is a complete change from previously when, in order to open an academy, the predecessor school had to be closed and the consultation on this was much more tightly defined. Note that the consultation can take place after the decision is made!

    15 September 2011 at 1:53pm
  3. Simon Galliers said:

    Does the head and the governing body have to outline pay and conditions for staff at an early stage of consultation. If not I presume this has to be sorted out before the school becomes an academy.

    19 September 2011 at 2:53pm
  4. Pete said:

    TUPE regulations require that pay and conditions remain the same when the school is transferred to become an Academy.
    However there is no time limit on the regulations so once a school becomes an Academy the Head and Governors can start to look for ways to alter them.

    20 September 2011 at 2:42pm
  5. Jane said:

    When my school closed to become an academy (under the old regime), staff were invited to apply for their posts. One academy restructured within weeks of becoming an academy, so TUPE was rather meaningless. Promises made before the Funding Agreement is signed are meaningless.

    21 September 2011 at 4:12pm
  6. John said:

    Pete said:
    There is a growing feeling that this is illegal. There are a couple of cases that are starting to challenge this in the courts.

    Could links be posted to any cases going through the courts.

    27 September 2011 at 10:37am

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