Briefing for Governors and Head teachers

Head teachers and Governors are coming under considerable pressure to convert to Academy status.

This Briefing looks at some of the main questions that need to be considered before a school decides to embark on the road to becoming an academy.


  • Funding
  • The financial impact of leaving the Local Authority
  • Relations with the Local Authority
  • To raise attainment and close the attainment gap?
  • More Autonomy over the curriculum?
  • Freedom to Control admissions?
  • Freedom from National agreements on pay and conditions?
  • To increase Collaboration with other schools?
  • To fulfil the pledge of the ‘Big Society’ which gives power back to the people?
  • Are Academies ‘proven to succeed’?
  • Privatisation – plain and simple
  • Consultation
  • Questions for Governors regarding academy proposals
  • If we don’t convert now, will we be left behind?
  • We can help

Click here to download

Last updated 26th January 2012 following the release of the GCSE results for 2011

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11 Responses to Briefing for Governors and Head teachers

  1. Shelagh Limmer says:

    Do you have a beginners guide for governors contesting academy status that is being proposed by Head teacher & supported by senior staff?

  2. Jane says:

    Thanks, Alasdair, for the correction. It is hard to keep up with all the Government’s name changes!

  3. alasdair smith says:

    Sorry but the New Schools Network and the Schools Network are not the same thing. The Schools Network was formerly known as the Special Schools and Academies Trust. It is explicitly pro-academy and its speakers continue to claim academy status is an advantage. However, they are not the most virulent form of pro-academy apologists and some of their leading lights can see the contradictions in Coalition policy. The NSN, in contrast, is busily destroying the fabric of state education by encouraging competition between schools. Even academy heads oppose their work.

    But you should still insist your head allows for a balanced argument. We are happy to come and put the anti argument. If he won’t do it, why not call a meeting yourself in your own union group or as a joint union meeting.

  4. nigel may says:

    Thanks Jane for prompt response – pretty much as I suspected!

  5. Jane says:

    Just a thought. Perhaps you could ask the Governors to allow a debate presenting both sides.
    NSN used to have Bruce Liddington from Eact (an academies player) as trustee. I notice that he has now resigned but that indicates just how unbiased NSN was. They still have someone from ARK.

  6. Jane says:

    I assume that it is the New Schools Network which is anything but unbiased. It has had a considerable amount of money from the Government to process ‘free’ school applicants. As a registered charity, it can claim exemption from Freedom of Information and is headed by Rachel Wolf who was an advisor to Michael Gove ( If your head is claiming the NSN is unbiassed then you really must doubt his/her motives!

  7. Nigel May says:

    The Head at my School has invited the ‘Schools’ Network’ to a meeting for Governors about possibly seeking academy status.

    Is this organisation really unbiased and neutral as the Head claims, or is it likely tpo push and promote academy status?

  8. David says:

    Questions I’d suggest you consider asking:
    * Will the academy make any changes to their admissions procedures? (crucial to stop academic or social selection)
    * How will the ethos of the school be maintained? What changes are proposed to the current governing body? Are these changes going to help the school move forward, or will they lead to removal of key voices?
    * What systems / partnerships will the school have to support the needs of the most vulnerable and challenging students? (academies – and local authority schools – are likely soon to have to bear the full cost of educating any students they exclude, rather than this being met by the LA as is currently the case – this could run up huge bills if they don’t have good systems in place)
    * What impact will the change have on the school’s current partnership arrangeemnts with primary, secondary and special schools?
    * How much will the conversion process cost, initially and per year in future? Is the “academy premium” enough to cover these costs?
    * Will the school continue to recognise unions and respect the right of its staff to take industrial action?
    * How will the school ensure that staff are supported and developed?

  9. Sara Bragg says:

    Earlier this year some colleagues and I wrote a response to an article by Mark Pike in the Oxford Review of Education, which claimed to show evidence of improved performance at Trinity Academy under its sponsors, the evangelical Vardy Foundation.

    We argued that the ‘evidence’ was in fact unreliable, uncritically gathered and presented, and could not be used as a basis to justify the expansion of the academies programme and/or the value of Christian sponsors, as Pike had done. We were concerned that being published in a widely respected academic journal might make it seem that Pike’s claims had a more solid intellectual grounding than they in fact did.

    If anyone would like a copy, please click on the link below to request it be sent to you.

    Dr Sara Bragg
    Research Fellow, Child and Youth Studies,
    Childhood Development and Learning
    The Open University
    Briggs Building
    Milton Keynes MK7 6AA

  10. AAA office says:

    The Briefing is now repaired, thanks for the information

  11. Kate English says:

    Hi – I tried to download the briefing for governors but it only downloads three pages – is this right?

    I’m a parent governor for a primary school and I’ve just found out that our local feeder secondary school is investigating becoming an academy. It is looking at a collaborative set-up, without a sponsor, but in partnership with other like-minded schools. Although I’m idealogically opposed to academies and free schools, I can see why it’s attractive to some schools.

    I need more information so that i can ask the right questions!


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