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Tuesday 20 March 2012

Forced academies under s4 AA 2010 – Voluntary Controlled

From Cricetulus:

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.

3 answers – add yours below

  1. Alasdair said:

    These are interesting questions. Any school can ‘choose’ to convert of academy status before being forced, although the SoS has to sign the funding agreement and therefore approve the the sponsor.. I doubt the VA status changes this, although the Diocese would have to be consulted and agree. You should look at education lawyer David Wolfe’s blog “A can of worms” http://davidwolfe.org.uk/wordpress/

    25 March 2012 at 12:57am
  2. Rob Shorrock said:

    You perhaps need to check what arrangements your diocese has made about this. Up here in Lincolnshire, the Diocese has agreed (with the Sec of State presumably) that any school that falls into special measures will be taken into a multi-academy trust which it is establishing anyway as its preferred model for delivering primary and currently doing a sales job around schools in the county for this model. It will then have higher controls over this school than better performing schools within the Trust.

    27 March 2012 at 2:19pm
  3. Nosey Parker said:

    Your VA or VC status would disappear as an Academy, although you still will be a Church of England School. The diocese can sponsor the school as a forced academy thus keeping its Christian distinctiveness which has been the case here, and avoiding issues with land etc. I agree about choosing a sponsor before being given one you don’t want!

    11 May 2012 at 3:21pm

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