In September 2021, St. Bernadette’s will become part of the St. John Bosco Catholic Academy, as part of the Archdiocesan academisation strategy and will join forces with six other Catholic schools:
Read more about the academy company on the academy website by visiting:
Proposed Conversion to Academy Status
As you may already be aware, following our Ofsted inspection in January 2018, an academy order was granted by the Secretary of State, under which we were required to become an Academy under the Academies Act 2010.
Further information about what becoming an Academy means is set out below.
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.
What are the benefits of being an Academy?
In the school’s opinion, the benefits are numerous:
- academies are independent of Local Authority control – this means that academies have more freedom about how they conduct themselves;
- academies receive their funding direct from central government – this means that academies control more of their funding because none is retained by the Local Authority for the provision of central services;
- academies have more freedom over the curriculum taught – this means that academies do not need to teach parts of the National Curriculum which they do not consider is appropriate for their pupils;
- academies can set their own pay and conditions of service for their staff - academies have the freedom to alter the pay and conditions of their staff (subject to normal employment law protections for staff) and so can provide staff with better pay and conditions than previously;
- academies have more freedom to undertake innovative projects – academies are charitable companies and so have more freedom to undertake innovative projects, such as setting up and utilising trading subsidiaries.
Are there any disadvantages to becoming an Academy?
As an Academy we 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?
As a voluntary aided school, St. Bernadette’s already deals with its own admission arrangements. As an Academy, it would still deal with its own admission arrangements and would also still be bound by the national Admissions Code, and Admissions Appeals Code. Accordingly, there will be no change in the way in which the admission arrangements are set if the school becomes an Academy.
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 St. Bernadette’s change?
We want to continue on our journey to becoming an outstanding school. We therefore do not intend to change St. Bernadette’s, except in ways which we think will improve the school even more. For pupils, it is unlikely that they will see much, if any, change in their day to day school lives. Academies do have the power to vary their curriculums and vary the length of the school day, and we would engage with parents/carers, staff and students if we did ever intend to make such changes in the future.
How can I find out more?
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, please email the Head Teacher, Mrs. Siobhan Moran at firstname.lastname@example.org