In January of this year, we wrote to you to let you know that we were preparing an application to become an academy. This letter provides you with an update and asks for your contribution to the process.
Our application was considered in April and, under the Academies Act 2010, we have been issued with an academy order by the Secretary. Our proposal is to join Newquay Education Trust (NET). In accordance with the obligations set out in the Academies Act 2010, the Governing Body is now consulting on whether the school’s conversion to academy status should take place. Further information about what becoming an academy means, and how to comment on the proposals, is set out below.
Will Brannel School definitely become an Academy?
The governing body has received an academy order from the Secretary of State requiring it to become an academy and is working towards a conversion in November 2017. However, the school is not obligated to become an academy until the contract between the Academy Trust and the Department for Education (known as the Funding Agreement) is signed.
The Academy Trust will not sign the Funding Agreement until parents and carers of students at the school, and in Years 5 and 6 of our feeder primary schools, staff at the school, and students themselves have had the opportunity to comment on the proposals. We are writing to all parents and carers and are also inviting them to a meeting on Monday 18 September at 7pm, to learn more about the proposals to become an academy, or to comment on the proposals.
We have also held meetings with staff, and will be keeping students informed throughout the process.
Any comments or representations which are made about the proposals will be considered by the Academy Trust before a decision is taken to sign the Funding Agreement. Details of how to provide comments and representations are set out below.
The Academy Trust will not sign the Funding Agreement unless they are content that conversion would be in the best interests of the school taking account of all of the legal and practical ramifications.
What is an academy?
An academy is essentially an independent school which is funded by the state. It is independent of the Local Authority and receives its funding direct from central government.
It is proposed that Brannel School will become an academy as part of NET. This means that the school will be part of an academy group, with Newquay Tretherras and Newquay Junior Academy.
What are the reasons for making this decision?
We have not made this decision lightly or quickly. In the Autumn of 2015 we consulted parents, carers and stakeholders on the key criteria which a Multi Academy Trust should meet which represent our fundamental values and principles. We have asked NET to respond to these criteria and we are sharing those responses with you on our website. We believe that they answer key questions about the impact and benefits of becoming an academy.
Are there any disadvantages to becoming an academy?
NET will be directly liable for matters such as insurance, employment liabilities, pensions, health and safety, and, property maintenance. However, as mentioned above, academies receive more funding from central government to help them meet these additional costs.
Will the admissions arrangements change?
Brannel School’s admissions arrangements are set by the Local Authority, and the Local Authority also decides which students should be offered places at the school. As an academy, NET will put in place admission arrangements, and decide which students should be offered places in accordance with those arrangements. The academy will still be bound by the national Admissions Code, and Admissions Appeals Code.
The current admission arrangements will remain in place for the time being. If the academy wanted to change its admission arrangements consultation would be required.
Will staff leave?
If the school converts to an academy, all staff currently employed by the school will automatically transfer to the new academy on their current pay and conditions. Although the academy will have more freedom to amend those pay and conditions in the future, the Governing Body does not intend to take such a step in the foreseeable future and in any event, any change to pay and conditions would need to be consulted upon with staff representatives.
Will Brannel School change?
We do not intend to change Brannel School except in ways which we think will improve the school even more. For students, it is unlikely that they will see much, if any, change in their day to day school lives. A Review of our curriculum and school day is already planned for the 2017-2018 Academic Year, this is separate from the decision to become an academy.
How can I find out more?
A meeting will be held at the school on Monday 18 September at 7pm. We would encourage you to attend if you have any questions, or simply want to learn more. We have added a specific page to our website about the conversion process where there is more information for you.
There is also more information about academies on the DfE website:
If you can’t find the answer to your question here, or on the DfE website, and cannot attend the meeting on Monday 18 September, please email the school ([email protected]) and we will try to assist.
How can I make representations?
To respond to this consultation on whether the conversion of the school to academy status should take place, please write or email us at the details below:
Representations can be made in writing to:
Stephanie Wilson (Clerk to the Governing Body)
Brannel School, Rectory Road, St Stephen PL26 7RN
Or by email to:
The closing date for representations to be made is noon on Friday 29th September 2017.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond to our consultation. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.