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Pros and cons about school becoming an academy???

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by sciencequeen00, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. sciencequeen00

    sciencequeen00 New commenter

    Everyone says its a bad thing......
    What are some other views, we have sponsors interested...

    What will be a big change if we become and academy, i need to know real basics of it as dont have a clue!
  2. ihatemondays

    ihatemondays New commenter

    New uniform, new name/logo, new identity, new ethos, new build. We had the same SMT which has been great. BUT - new governors, new rules, new performance management proceedures,higher targets - but with the same children! New staff are on academy contracts and not linked to national pay scales etc...
    National agreements such as 24 hours notice for observations, limiting observations to 3 hours a week - these are out the window!
    It all depends on who you have as a sponsor and how involved they are. So far though, I love it!
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    It's not likely to involve new build unless it's a project already agreed by the DfE. Older Academies usually got new buildings but new ones now shouldn't bank on it.
    I think you mean 3 hours a year!
  4. breadmaker

    breadmaker New commenter

    Interesting thread for me this- I will shortly asked to vote on whether my children's sec, school should become an academy.
    Would I be wrong in my assumption that academies could be used to prompt a return to streamed schools by stealth? Can academies have their own admittance criteria and exclude children of certain abilities or is this preception totally wrong and do they have to admit a corss section of abilities?
    How would you advise myself and other parents to vote? Yes or no to academy status?
  5. Hair Shirt

    Hair Shirt New commenter

    Why do you come across as so sarcastic ihatemondays? I found the information Rott Weiler posted helpful. Thank you.
  6. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    I spoke to an educational consultant recently. I was quite shocked when he said he was sure that if a group wanted to set up a new "Catholic/girls/G&T-only" school next to ours they could without any great difficulty - & if our school suffered as a consequence it would be tough luck -market forces I'm afraid.
    Privatisation of education ( and all other public sector bodies ) is the clear and stated aim of the current government. This could mean your kids are 'winners' in the short term in switching to academy status, but the strong suspicion is that we will all be the poorer in the long run.
    I don't agree with all their propaganda, but see:
  7. breadmaker

    breadmaker New commenter

    I had a feeling of the same myself- we live in a relatively affluent area where more expensive house= catchment area giving access to higher performing school. Ironically, my children do go to a Catholic school, which is currently high performing, but as it admits all and has no defined catchment area, I consider it to be truly comprhenesive and would like it to stay that way! I agree with you that these proposals/ideas are not to be trusted and seem to be short term vote winners to placate the chattering classes, as there has been some resentment in my area that under a labour council, the "rough" side of the borough has had a lot of investment in new schools over the last few years, whereas the "better" side has not. Academy status (which some other local schools have already been granted) seems to be reassuring some parents that they are not being forgotten.We can all have socialist views until they are tested by local and national policies which may mean someone else getting a "better" deal than us. (sorry about font-don't know what's happened here!)</h2>
  8. ianj6

    ianj6 New commenter

    The conditions for the Teachers in real terms generally are worse than in main stream. (The observation thing, obliging them to stay on at the end of the school day, run clubs, extra meetings, come in in the holidays, there are alot more examples ) The Teachers won't be told until the last minute in general, this will mean that a lot of the Teachers who won't have problems finding another job will vote with their feet, due to the rules surrounding teacher resignation dates. I do a lot of extra work voluntarily (sport, foreign visits etc), but I would resent being told I had to do it
    Such terms as TUPE are banded around staff meetings by the sponsors, but they will be very wooly about nailing down what they mean by this, causing uncertainty and higher turnover of staff. The Academy will need to replace these staff, and I don't know many Qualified colleagues who would go to an Academy due to the conditions, (re pay, I don't believe there is generally a huge difference). This can mean heads having to look to "other" sources for their teachers.
    In terms of advantage for the school, I believe the big thing is "top slicing" where the Local Authority take a percentage of the Heads income to pay for admin, advisors etc. In an Academy, all this money goes to the Head and s/he can sub-contract this work out, thereby supposedly keeping more of the money for the school.
    The big advantage for the Local authority in the case of a "failing" school, is that the results won't be counted against LEA figures
    The Academy Head can also adjust the curriculum to make it more relevant to the environment of the school.
    My experience tells me I wouldn't want my child taught in an Academy, would vote against it and if it went ahead anyway, would move my child from that institution
    All the above is the knowledge gained from experience and not a result of legal knowledge, and I'm interested to hear of positive academy experiences, I haven't ever heard of any yet.

  9. emids77

    emids77 New commenter

    I was at an academy for my first PGCE placement, and I loved it. It was an amalgamation of three schools (apparently one not-so-good, one OK and one good school). Work hours are slightly longer but staff are paid more, and they were told upon switching to the new academy their pay and conditions would be at least as good as LA-controlled schools, and they seem to be. Some (only a few) chose to stay on the old style contract.
    A positive about many academies I have heard of, including this one, was there was an entrance exam, with equal numbers of pupils from all ability bands being admitted and religious observance not being considered (this is also the case in some Christian academies too)- this seems to be 'fully comprehensive', unlike the postcode lottery or religious observance criteria used elsewhere to cream off the children of motivated and better-off parents. I am not sure if this is true of all academies though.
    As for the future- who knows? I am only recalling a good school which seems to have done much to promote good education- this could happen with or without academy status. I would ask though, that if your school is considering academy status, would it be better to do it in conjucntion with other schools in the area, to co-ordinate entrance/catchment are requirements?
  10. Currently trying to ascertain who will monitor provision of education to sick kids, temporarily excluded and pregnant school girls. Despite legislation stating that provision is statutory and cannot be reduced in provision on the grounds that it may cost too much, there is no way of policing this, monitoring the education provided by academies for these minority groups of pupils and some senior managements seem uncertain of their duties.
    Academy + Special Needs = 'have' and 'have nots'
    Would be more than willing to be persuaded otherwise - but you'd have to be pretty persuasive!
  11. So we all have to have a rubbish education because some kids are badly behaved. Aaah, Socialism. Don't you just love it?[​IMG]
  12. To be quite blunt the decision has probably already been made and you are being asked as a 'courtesy'. Your opinions will make little difference as many parents and teachers that have taken the plunge will share with you! Academies are becoming very popular. Lots of schools have bid to become academies, been declined and have reapplied. So something must make sense!
    My experiences are of one academy which was a drastically failing school has been given a top achieving sponsor school and is turning the reputation round quite significantly. One thing that has stuck with me was at the last minute the rules for entry changed. One day it was 'anyone can come near or far from catchment' and all of a sudden its now about pupils sitting an entrance test to 'band' them. Only a certain equal amount of pupils from each band will be accepted regardless of catchment (catchment has priority for each band). Only SEN pupils will be accepted without testing... If the rules can change that quickly regardless of how incensed LEA were there is some cause for concern. What was agreed on paper did not become reality and there was nothing anyone could do - the strings attached had been removed....
    I know another school who have reapplied for academy status partly due to financial reasons and its inability to manage the money. If it became an academy the school would not be able to overdrawn and no longer have its defecit - therefore no more redundancies would need to take place. So in some senses rather reassuring for staff!! Saying that a teacher does not have the security that the LEA could give you and if there's a witch hunt or you did not meet your targets etc, boy are you in trouble!
    I am seriously considering sending my child to a school which i know has bid for academy status which is top performing rural school. I believe it will make that school a stronger place to learn and the benefits will outweigh the negatives for the pupils for that particular school.
    It really is a decision that only you can make based on your school as a parent, teacher or governor. I firmly believe that the school system is going full circle, soon we will have our grammar schools - sorry I mean 'flag ship academies' and then the 'other schools. if you are in association with a top performing school you will probably be fine, if not be very careful what you agree to. Either which way the only thing that is certain is nothing is certain at all!!

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