Granby Primary School

loader

Upcoming Events

No events found

Academy Conversion

Academy Consultation October 1st to 28th 2016

Introduction

On October 1st 2016, Granby Governors published a special edition newsletter which launched a consultation on academy conversion. The newsletter:

  • Provided basic information about the issues

  • Referred readers to more detailed information on the school website

  • Was distributed to parents, carers, staff, teaching and other unions, the local authority and other local stakeholders

  • Invited a response by writing or email

  • Offered parents the opportunity to speak to governors at our parents’ evenings which were attended by 99% of our parents

  • Informed parents about our Parents’ Action Groups meeting, where any parents were welcome to come and discuss the issues. The meetings took place at a 9.00am slot to catch parents dropping off children and 6.00pm when working parents would have more chance of being able to attend

Responses which we can track came from as follows:

  • 17 parents discussed academy conversion with governors at parents’ evening

  • 2 parents emailed the school

  • 1 trade union emailed the school (whose response is appended in full)

  • 14 parents completed a response form

  • 6 parents attended the Parents’ Action Group

Common themes and responses

Some common themes emerged from the consultation. These themes are:

  • Context – there were some comments about the background and national circumstances in which we operate

  • Our school – some of the points were about what we want our school to be like in the future

  • Staff – we received some feedback about how staff might be affected

  • Other schools – some people discussed the other schools we could be with in a MAT (multi-academy trust)

  • Consultation process – a few responses were about the process of consultation and/or conversion

  • Decision making – there were some comments and questions about the decision making process

  • Advice – a few people gave governors some advice

Theme Response
CONTEXT

We appreciate that doing nothing is not an option 

We don’t want to have no choice and be forced into it

The Governing Board has been discussing the issues around academy conversion for some time now and have also reached the conclusion that it is no longer in Granby’s interests to do nothing.

It could be disastrous to leave it and could be better to do it sooner rather than later to make the best of the situation 

We ought to be a leader, not the last in, and shape the MAT to meet the needs of our children. 

All schools will eventually become academies

The Governing Board has been discussing the issues around academy conversion for some time now and believe that it would be in Granby children’s best interest to convert whilst there are still many doors open.
I don’t agree with academy conversion on principle! Many of our governors felt the same way at the beginning of our investigations; and although they have not necessarily changed their minds, they feel that this is pragmatic and the right step for Granby at this time.
OUR SCHOOL

We are already happy with the way school is

I am happy with the way it has always been and would hate things to change as my children are happy to be at school

Granby is a good school with some outstanding features, particularly the most recent key stage 2 SATs results. Governors have clearly stated that school improvement is one of the main drivers for academy conversion as we know that the Local Authority will be very limited in this function in the future. Governors want to keep all the things that we love about Granby, as well as improve where we know things can be made better
We would want Granby to retain its own identity Governors have already published the 5 factors which they feel must dominate any decision about academy conversion. One of these is to take account of the ethos and philosophy when deciding which partners we want to work with.

Keep our uniforms exactly the same 

Can’t afford to shell out for all new uniform – otherwise not fussed either way

The Governing Board has no wish to join a MAT which would want a corporate, MAT-wide approach to uniform.

Too much of an age difference, more chance of bullying, copying behaviour etc 

The school is too small to be an academy

Becoming an academy would not change the age range of children here at Granby or the size of the school.
STAFF

Our teachers need to stay at Granby, not be drafted elsewhere 

Our teachers need to be protected in their jobs and conditions of service.

The Governing Board is committed to ensuring that teachers are not required to work at other schools within the MAT. It is recognised that teachers may choose to do so for staff development reasons. Pay and conditions will be protected under law for 2 years. After that, our governors wish teachers’ pay and conditions to at least remain in line with local authority conditions.
It is important to me that the children are taught by qualified teachers and that they are taught a balanced stretching curriculum and not ‘weird, off-piste, random’ topics Granby will always employ appropriately qualified teachers for every single class in school. There are no plans to deviate from the National Curriculum.
I don’t agree with academy conversion on principle! Many of our governors felt the same way at the beginning of our investigations; and although they have not necessarily changed their minds, they feel that this is pragmatic and the right step for Granby at this time.
OTHER SCHOOLS

We want to join with other schools which are doing well. 

Granby has always been a good school 

It would be better to be in a group of good schools 

It’s important that standards and academic progress does not drop

There is an expectation that every MAT will have one or more outstanding school who can support other schools to improve their practice. They may also be weaker schools within the MAT, who may wish to benefit from the expertise of the other schools. A group of schools will have strengths in a variety of areas and schools will be able to learn from one another. Governors are clear that school improvement must be one of the main drivers for conversion. This will become more important in future years as the Local Authority receives less funding to support schools in this crucial area.
We want to keep control of our finances. Entering a MAT will result in some joint and several liabilities. These would depend upon the negotiated arrangements between the school and the MAT. Granby has already identified the next steps which reflect a desire to retain influence and be self-directing.
How do we retain an amount of control? Governors have identified as their next step, seeking partners which use a flat structure to ensure that no school has a greater sphere of influence than the others.
CONSULTATION PROCESS
We appreciate the opportunity to voice our opinions. We think it’s important to listen carefully to the thoughts and opinions of our parents.
The Parents’ Action Group was really informative and helped us understand more about what is involved. We are glad this was useful and would love to meet more parents at these forums.

Need more information to make a decision 

Letter home was informative 

There should be more opportunities for a forum to discuss what this would mean for Granby.

There is a full document on the website about the work which has been under taken by the Governing Board. This includes some websites and other documents for further reading. Governors try to make themselves available at school events and the Parents’ Action group is also available to discuss this, and any other whole-school issue, of interest to parents.
DECISION MAKING
Will Governors just rubber stamp Mr Fowler’s decision? No! The head teacher cannot make this decision: it is a decision of the Governing Board, where Mr Fowler’s voice is one amongst many. All governors have been involved, to a lesser or greater degree, in working towards this decision.

I don’t really understand the issue but trust the Governing Body 

We have full confidence in the school making the right decision in the interest of the pupils

That was particularly nice to hear from several parents – thank you!
ADVICE
I am surprised Granby is so far behind and Granby needs to move quickly to reap the rewards. Until recently, there has not been much appetite for academy conversion in Leicester City. However, Granby Governors feel that the time is now right to move forwards with this.
Choose wisely and carefully! Thank you for this excellent advice! Governors absolutely agree that this is a hugely important decision and that is why the process has been so thorough. Governors spent a considerable amount of time thinking about where we draw ‘the line in the sand’! This is how we arrived at the values and ethos section of the newsletter we sent home (and which can still be viewed on the website). These will form the basis of any decisions moving forwards.
NO!  
Yeah let’s do it!  

 If you would like to read a more detailed account of the governors' work in relation to this, please click here.

 If you would like to read all of the responses to the consultation, please click here