I am a newly elected parent governor at a C of E Voluntary Controlled primary serving a mixed community that is consulting on academy conversion.
It has been put to me that if we were to go down from “Satisfactory” to “Notice to Improve” (we had a NtI just 3 years ago) academy status could be forced on us by the SoS with a sponsor not of our choosing. I don’t believe this is possible (legally? politically?) because the Trustees of a Church school have the power (duty?) to terminate the use of their land if it is being used outside the purposes of the trust – to provide a school of a CofE character.
I believe there is significant protection coming with voluntary status that, sadly, Downhills et al do not have. But I stand to be corrected.
Additionally, NAHT seems to be saying that schools in this position do retain the practical ability to choose a sponsor before one is forced on them – to jump rather than be pushed. Comments please.