Friday 20th September 2019

ACADEMY STATUS - OVERVIEW

We believe by changing our status to an academy, acquiring a religious (Church of England) character and adding a sixth form will enhance provision for all our pupils, staff and stakeholders. These three stages form three separate proposals, so there is no guarantee that all three will be accepted.

The Governing Body and Trustees of the school have agreed in principle to accept the proposed changes, and we await a decision from the Secretary of State on our proposals. The Headteacher, Trustees and Governors do want your views on these proposals however, before any final decision is made.

WHY CHANGE?

  • Educational policy is constantly changing, and as a school, we believe to achieve the best possible outcomes for our pupils, we must remain at the cutting edge – academy status gives us the opportunity to do so, through giving us greater autonomy and flexibility to run the school in a way that best suits our pupils
  • Many schools nationwide are converting to academy status, and are being actively encouraged to do so by HM Government
  • Converting to academy status will secure funding that will be used to further enhance the learning opportunities for all our pupils

WHAT IS AN ACADEMY?

Academies are publicly funded independent local schools that provide a first class free education. They are all ability schools established by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups working with partners from the local community. Academies provide a teaching and learning environment that is in line with the best in the maintained sector and offer a broad and balanced curriculum to pupils of all abilities, focusing especially on one or more subject areas (specialisms).  As well as providing the best opportunities for the most able pupils and those needing additional support, academies have a key part to play in the regeneration of communities.

WHY CAN WOODCHURCH APPLY?

Woodchurch High School can apply because it has been rated outstanding by Ofsted. In fact, we have consistently been rated as outstanding since 2005.

HOW LONG WILL THE CONVERSION PROCESS TAKE?

As a school, we are eager to do the best for our pupils, staff and other stakeholders. For that reason, although conversions usually take no more than six months, we wish to take slightly longer, thereby ensuring the best possible outcomes.

DO WE NEED A SPONSOR?

As an outstanding school, we do not need to have a sponsor. However, as we have been a Trust School, we feel the expertise and support our Trust partners have given the school has been outstanding. For example, Liverpool Hope University significantly contributes to curriculum development and the Church of England has provided support for Governance. For that reason, although upon conversion we will no longer be a Trust School, the Governing Body has agreed to maintain a Trust, as part of the academy structure, so we can continue to benefit from the excellent support received thus far.

WHY CONSULT ON OUR PLANS?

Consulting our pupils, parents’ staff and other stakeholders is important, as that way all can understand the reasons for the proposed changes and how these will impact upon how the school is run.

SUPPORTING OTHER SCHOOLS

As an academy, we will be required to support other schools in raising standards. As a Training School, we believe we are very well placed to do this. In fact, over the past two years or so, we have worked closely with a number of schools and delivered training on their behalf. This is in addition to the work we have done in the training of teachers through the PGCE, GTP and i-Teach programmes.

WILL THE CONVERSION COST SCHOOL MONEY?

In theory it will, but the Department for Education provide a grant that will cover the costs of conversion in full. Any additional legal expenses are to be met by the Church of England, thereby resulting in no loss of money from school funds/capitation.

WILL BEING AN ACADEMY BRING IN EXTRA FUNDING?

No, being an academy will not bring financial advantage or disadvantage to the school, but it will give the school greater control over its finances, and ultimately enable the school to find alternative funding streams that will bring in additional monies.

WILL THE SCHOOL BE GOVERNED DIFFERENTLY?

The flexibility of the academy governance model allows us to replicate our existing governing body if we wish to do so. There are however some minimum requirements. These are that an academy must have at least two parent governors, no more than a third of governors can be academy staff, and there can be no more than one LA governor. Other than these core requirements, the flexible model allows the academy trust to appoint a governing body that is appropriate for the school.

WHY BECOME A CHURCH OF ENGLAND ACADEMY?

Since becoming a Trust School we have worked closely with the Church of England, who are our ‘majority partner’. The added value in terms of governance and support has been tremendous. In addition, we believe the support they can provide both to curriculum development and ethos is worth enshrining in the new status. In addition, by becoming a Church of England Academy, school will join with an ever growing ‘family’ of schools, who can offer additional support to one another. This will be especially important, as services provided by the Local Authority will continue to contract. Currently the Church of England has over 4,470 primary schools, 220 secondary schools and 13 universities – many of these locally.

WHY ADD A SIXTH FORM?

Parents and pupils have consistently and repeatedly over the years informed school of their desire for a sixth form, to ensure continuity of progression and care. We believe the addition of a sixth form can only enhance our pupils progression in to Key Stage 5 and beyond.

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ACADEMY STATUS - FURTHER INFORMATION

The latest information on academies from the Government:

FAQ’s frequently asked questions which include:

  • The conversion process
  • Decision to become an academy
  • Governance
  • Admissions and working with others
  • Finance FAQs
  • Staffing
  • Process and Support
  • OFSTED
  • Land and Premises

HOW TO BECOME AN ACADEMY

The follwing link gives information on:

  • How to become an academy
  • What Headteacher’s are saying who are employed within schools which have recently converted to academy status
  • What schools are saying
  • Academy funding

You can also access a Department for Education leaflet, by clicking on the following link:

Consultation letters:

More information will become available on this website as and when it becomes available.


ACADEMY STATUS - ONLINE POLL RESULTS

Having read the information and understanding that the three stages form three separate proposals:

CONSULTATION RESULTS - AUGUST 2011

The three proposals were presented as separate proposals, which the Governing Body would consider separately on their own merit.

ONLINE POLL

  Votes Yes No
Do you agree that becoming an Academy is the right things for Woodchurch High School to do? 264 75.8% 24.2%
Do you think it is right to add a religious (Church of England) character to the school? 259 87.3% 12.7%
Is adding a Sixth Form a good thing for our pupils? 237 88.6% 11.4%

PAPER RESPONSES

Responses by Group Total
Parents 161 191
Prospective Parents 7
School Staff 16
Feeder School Staff 6
Other 1
  Yes No Don’t Know
Do you agree that becoming an Academy is the right things for Woodchurch High School to do? 74% 6% 14%
Do you think it is right to add a religious (Church of England) character to the school? 57% 16% 20%
Is adding a Sixth Form a good thing for our pupils? 91% 4% 5%

SUMMARY

  Total Votes Yes No Don’t Know
Do you agree that becoming an Academy is the right things for Woodchurch High School to do? 444 77% 17% 6%
Do you think it is right to add a religious (Church of England) character to the school? 440 76% 15% 9%
Is adding a Sixth Form a good thing for our pupils? 428 89% 9% 2%

If you are a parent and have any additional queries, you can contact one of the parent governors, through the Clerk to the Governors at school.

If you are a member of staff, talk to the staff governors.

All other queries should be directed through the Headteacher.

Further information on academy status can be found on the Government’s Department for Education website: www.education.gov.uk

You can comment until Friday 22 July 2011, when the Headteacher and Governing body will review all comments received, and decide whether to amend any suggestions to reflect the responses received.

Parents and staff will be able to view a summary of the feedback to our proposals once the consultation period is over.

If you require any further information, please see our website, where there is also opportunity to complete an online survey.

In addition, you are more than welcome to contact the Headteacher, Ms. Rebekah Phillips at schooloffiice@woodchurch-high.wirral.sch.uk

Alternatively please contact school on (0151) 677 5257

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