Successive Secretaries of State for Education have espoused that ‘Headteachers and Governors know best’ for their school, their pupils and students. We agree.
Confident school leaders:
- Believe that they really do know what’s best for their communities
- Trust their professional instincts and know that, often, to work in partnership with like-minded colleagues will lead to better outcomes for children as best practice is shared and economies of scale are realised
- Trust themselves to make decisions free from Local Authority bureaucracy
- Want to have control over where their school contracts services from.
These are some of the reasons why governors and Headteachers decide that to become an academy is the right thing for their school. The decision to convert doesn’t change the core purpose of keeping children safe and helping them to become successful. It does mean that you have more control and with that comes even more accountability; but confident school leaders do not shirk this.
There are two types of conversion to academy status:
Sponsored – a school that is in challenging circumstances such as diminishing standards or two or three OFSTED inspection outcomes of ‘requires improvement’ or worse, might be taken into an academy trust (often a Multi-Academy Trust, MAT) and will be deemed ‘sponsored’ by that trust. The idea is that a successful trust will be able to ‘add value’ to the school improvement strategies that the school requires. Usually, the Local Governing Body is given time by the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) to find a trust that they feel most comfortable with. The responsibility for the outcomes of the sponsored academy then rests with the MAT.
Converter – usually a ‘good’ or better school who wants to benefit from the increased autonomy becoming an academy brings and, if they decide to join a MAT, the myriad of opportunities that transpire when great school leaders collaborate with one another.