Academy acounts for 1st-31st August 2017

                                

Bishop Bridgeman successfully converted to an academy on 1st August 2016. Bishop Bridgeman Church of England Primary School with St James Church of England Primary School form the Bolton and Farnworth Church of England Primary Multi Academy Trust.

Consultation on Academy Status

7th October 2015

Dear Parents, Guardians, Carers, Friends of Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School, Parishioners, and our wider community,

 

Consultation on the question of converting to Academy status and joining with St James CE Primary School as Multi Academy Trust 

 

You may well already be aware that the Government is encouraging all schools to consider converting to Academy status.  After careful consideration the Governing Body of Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School, has decided that it wishes to explore conversion to Multi Academy Trust status.   We believe this can be best achieved with St James CE Primary School.

 

We are writing to consult with all parents, parishioners, members of our community and friends of Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School and St James CE Primary School to determine whether the schools should proceed with conversion and we would like to invite your views on the matter.

 

What is an Academy?

 

Academies are publicly funded state schools that are independent of the Local Authority (Bolton Council) and receive funding directly from Central Government.

You can view further detail on academies at the Department for Education website at: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/academies

 

What is a Multi Academy Trust?

 

This is a group of academies who come together with a shared moral purpose and aspiration to improve the educational provision for all children and young people, share expertise and best practice, challenge each other, and where possible achieve economies of scale to the benefit of their schools.  This will mean there will be more to spend on the pupils and will lessen administration.

 

Why is this being considered?

 

Gaining Academy status would give us the autonomy to continue to develop our schools and build the best provision for our children, and continue to achieve high standards.

 

Our ethos is built on strong Christian principles, and our vision for our pupils is that they become confident and caring individuals who achieve their ever-increasing potential, and who are fully prepared to make a positive contribution to society.

 

Creating a Multi Academy Trust will affirm our commitment to Christian values and ethos, and to continue to achieve academic excellence and the progress of all young people.

 

Will any changes be made to Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School as a result of conversion?

 

Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School will remain Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School. We will not lose, or change our name.  Both schools will retain their original name.

 

The character, ethos and values of our school will remain unchanged should Academy conversion take place.  There may be some changes to the Governing Body.  The Multi-Academy Trust will have the responsibility for all of our land and estate.

 

The Multi Academy Trust will continue to be responsible for our admissions policy and appeals.  Our pupils will continue to have the same range of choice for secondary schools as they do currently.  Bishop Bridgeman’s CE Primary School admissions policy will also remain the same.

 

We have attached a list of Frequently Asked Questions to our website, and will try to update this as questions/representations come in.

 

How to take part in the consultation process

 

At this stage we are not committing the school to conversion to Multi Academy Trust status. We are consulting with everyone associated with our School before Governors meet again to make a final decision following the consultation.

 

There will be an open meeting for you to come and raise any queries you may have on Tuesday 13th October at 3.30pm.  If you are unable to make this meeting, but would like to ask any questions or make any comments please phone the school to make an appointment.  During Parental consultation evenings on the 20th and 21st October, Mrs Pilling (Headteacher) will be available to answer any questions.

 

The consultation will close on Tuesday 3rd November 2015 at 4.00pm.  The Governors will meet after this date to consider how to proceed.

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Canon M Thompson                                                            Mrs J Pilling.

Chair of Governors                                                              Headteacher



 

Consultation on Conversion to Academy Status Frequently Asked Questions

What is an academy?

An academy is a local school, which is funded by public money directly from central government, which that operates outside Local Authority (LA) control. The Government describes them as independent, state-funded schools. The primary purpose will continue to be the provision of education. There will be no changes to the school’s ethos, aims or goals. There is no question of anyone having to pay to attend the proposed academy.

What are the advantages of becoming an academy?

Becoming an academy means that Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School would have greater freedom to continue to innovate and raise standards. We would have much greater freedom around the delivery of the curriculum. We would still be subject to an Ofsted inspection and the pupils would still be prepared for end of key stage assessments in the same way as they are now.

We also have the ability to change the length of terms, term dates and staff terms and conditions but at present we must stress that we have no intention to do this. 

Would Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School receive more money as an academy?

Academies receive the same level of per-pupil funding as maintained schools receive from the LA, but they also receive an additional amount called the education funding grant which is currently retained by the LA to pay for some services which the LA provide. However, out of this money we would have to purchase some services, which are currently provided by the LA.

The Government states that becoming an academy should not bring about a financial advantage or disadvantage to a school. The main change is that academies have greater freedom over how they use their budgets. As an academy we would therefore have more freedom to buy the services we need from a range of providers and obtain best value for money and the best quality services.

At present, Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School is a voluntary aided school, which means we already manage many parts of our budget. This change is not therefore as great as it would be for schools, which are entirely maintained.

We do believe that the greater flexibility and the ability to innovate would mean there would be more money to invest in the school for the benefit of the children.

Why should Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School consider becoming an academy?

In addition to the fact that we believe the greater freedoms and flexibilities will enable us to further raise educational standards, there are other factors which are pointing towards conversion to an academy. As central services provided by the LA are already considerably reduced and the services, which we receive, are much more limited than they were a few years ago.

The Government’s policy is to encourage conversion to academies and they are currently providing funding to assist with the costs of doing so. As a good school with outstanding features, we are in the fortunate position to make this decision at a time and in a manner of our choosing.

The Governing Body therefore feels that we need to engage actively with this issue; if we wait and ignore the changes that are happening around us, we may lose our choices and have a model of conversion imposed upon us.

How accountable are academies?

Academies are subject to inspections by the schools’ inspectorate, Ofsted, in the same way as other schools are. Academies’ SATs results will continue to be published as at present, alongside those of other state schools in league tables. Academies are accountable directly to the Education Secretary.

Would conversion to academy status affect our admissions policy?

Academies are subject to the same admissions code as other state schools. This sets the rules for fair admissions. Academies also remain part of the LA application system. However, Academy Trusts become the admissions authorities for their schools, rather than the LA. We do not propose to alter our position on admissions and the LA would still deal them with.

What about our exclusions policy?

Academies have to follow government guidance and the law on excluding pupils. This includes reporting exclusions to the LA.

What about governance, would that change?

The principles of governance are the same in academies as in maintained schools, but the Governing Body of an academy has greater autonomy. The Governing Body may also be slightly smaller in size than at present because there will no longer be a need to accommodate LA governors. Academies are required to have at least two Parent Governors who are elected from the parent body in the same way as they are now. Whether or not we convert we need to ensure the Governing Body as a whole has the appropriate skills and knowledge to successfully perform its duties.

Would we continue to be a Church of England school?

Yes. In fact we would need consent from Manchester Diocese to apply to the Department for Education (DfE) to become an academy. We are very proud of the school’s Christian ethos and distinctiveness and intend to preserve it whether or not we become an academy. We will do this by ensuring that the Church is always represented on the Governing Body

Would staff remain the same after conversion?

All current permanent school staff will transfer to employment with the academy and there are no current plans to change the staffing structure. The Governing Body are committed to continue to recruit and retain high quality staff and will support existing staff through the transition and beyond if the school does convert.

Would staff pay and conditions change?

When a school converts to academy status, all members of staff are entitled to transfer under their existing employment terms and conditions under the TUPE provisions, which mean that their terms and conditions including their pensions are protected. Thereafter, the Academy Trust may consult with staff and their union representatives on changes to these terms and conditions, for example to enable the academy to operate over different term times or change the length of the school day. At this stage, it is the intention of this Governing Body that there will be no changes to current staff pay and conditions.

Will there be changes to the school name, uniform, school times, or terms?

We have no intention of making any changes at this time to the school uniform.

What does the process of converting to academy status entail?

Initially schools register their interest online with the Department for Education (DfE). Schools must then consult with parents, staff and all other stakeholders before the Governing Body votes to decide whether or not to pursue conversion by submitting an application to convert to the DfE. In addition, Church schools must seek approval from the Diocese before submitting an application to the DfE.

When the Education Secretary approves the school’s application to convert, he issues an Academy Order. A trust is then set up which in effect has a contract to run the academy for the Government. The school then registers the Academy Trust with Companies House and agrees leasing arrangements for school buildings and land.

The final stage is the signing of the Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State. We hope to be able to complete the conversion process by 1st January 2015.

Do schools have to cover the costs of conversion to academy status?

No. The DfE pays a flat-rate grant of £25,000 into the school's bank account after an Academy Order has been issued. To reduce potential legal costs the DfE has produced model legal documentation. In exceptional circumstances support above this level may be agreed.

Can Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School withdraw from the conversion process once it has begun?

Yes. Schools are able to withdraw right up to the point at which they sign the Funding Agreement. Once this is signed there is a legally binding agreement between the Secretary of State and the academy, and the termination of this agreement would require a long notice period (seven years).