Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Decision Process for a Governing Body in becoming an Academy

On the subject of Academies I have adopted a 'wait and see' approach like
many others. My rationale was that there just was not enough information
available to have a view one way or another.

As more information is released and more secondary schools start their
Academy consultations that stance is hard to maintain. Someone recently
said to me 'you can't sit on the fence for ever' or 'just stick your head
in the sand' 'you should have a view one way or another on Academies'. They were right and this led me do some in-depth research, on-line, on
Academies. What first stuck me was their were two camps with opposite
views. The Department of Education and organisations such as SSAT in the'for camp' while many of the teachers unions and local authorities were in the 'against camp'.

It was very difficult to find a balanced view from a governing body
perspective. The closest to a balanced view I could find was the useful FAQ
version 9 from the National Governors Association (NGA)and the excellent
Academy tool kit from NCOGS (National Co-ordinators of Governor Services).

However, as this is such a massive topic I have separated it into a series
of five blog articles over the next five days.

Today in part one I will tackle the Decision Process for a Governing Body
becoming an Academy.

Part 2 on Thursday will be about 'The Academy Consultation Process'.

Part 3 on Wednesday will talk about 'Academy Funding & Costs of becoming an

Part 4 on Friday will be 'Academy FAQ's and Useful links (Pros and

Finally, Part 5 on Saturday will be the riveting subject about 'Academies
and The Law'.

Discussion Process for Governing Body becoming an Academy - Part One

1. Governing Body: Are we at all interested? Take into consideration the
view of the headteacher and the view expressed by staff governors about
likely feelings of staff….and if a church school, obtain view of the

If yes:

2. Governing Body sets up working party to obtain and consider more details
and make recommendation to governing body.

The recommendation may be that:

• On balance there are clear advantages and the governing body has the
capacity to take on academy status now, so let’s consult stakeholders
(If this is the recommendation the working party should draft a
consultation document for GB to approve).

• On balance the advantages outweigh the disadvantages but the governing
body is not yet ready to take on extra responsibility and will need to
be strengthened in the following ways:

• On balance there are insufficient advantages - and significant
disadvantages - to justify continued interest

3. Working party reports back to Governing Body with recommendations

4. Governing Body considers working party recommendations and decides:

• to proceed to consultation OR

• to ready itself to consider academy status later OR

• not to proceed with the idea.

If GB agrees to proceed:

5. Working party: Consult Stakeholders (NB the GB has not made its final
decision at this stage to avoid perception of fait accompli)

• Working Party: collate responses and provide a paper for the Governing

6. Governing Body considers response and decides - with formal resolution
clearly minuted its intention to pursue Academy status.

7. Ensure that the decision is communicated and explained to Stakeholders

Full Credit & Thanks to NCOGS for their Academy Tool-kit. Tomorrow is
about the Academy Consultation process.http://www.ncogs.org.uk/emie/inc/fd.asp?user=&doc=AcademystatusTopic1%2Edoc


  1. Sean

    The Academy question is rapidly becomming (if not already) the number one strategic issue for all GBs. The reality of national funding cuts means that all schools are being squeezed hard and that budget setting now underway is a real headache. I would be amazed if any school can see way a route to balanced budgets next FY without impacting pupil incomes.

    The evident truth is that Academy status appears to be the only route to combatting the cuts. The "flat cash" promises made by the DFE are looking pretty hollow and so Academy is seemingly the only source of pain relief.

    The challenge then is not only the process for Governors to assess the pros and cons, but also determine if their school will be eligible. The criteria appear fluid and officials at DFE are swamped with enquiries. First it was Outstanding schools only. Then it was Good with outstanding features. Now it appears that "outstanding features" is being applied to selected features only with no indication of which are in and which are out.

    I look forward to the remaining articles particularly if you have managed to unearth any clarity on the DFE decision making process awaiting at the other end of the Governor's decision making process.

  2. I'd still say the decision should be made based on principles, not a dash for cash ...