What is an academy?
An academy is a school that is not run by the Local Authority (such as Oldham). It is managed and run by its own Governors and staff and funded directly by the government.
What is a MAT?
A Multi Academy Trust is where a number of schools join together and form a single Trust with a Board of Trust Directors answerable to the Trust’s members. The Trust Directors are responsible for the strategic oversight of the academy. They work with their academies to ensure they are performing to their best ability and that they get the support they require. The Trust is the legal entity and it has one set of Articles that govern all the academies within it. The Trust has a Master Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State and each academy also has a Supplemental Funding Agreement. Each of the academies in the Trust has its own local governing body that deals with local issues. The Trust is accountable for all its academies. However, before any agreements are signed, the Trust will work with schools to agree those matters that will be handled centrally and those that will remain the responsibility of the individual academy local governing bodies. This agreement will be encapsulated in the Scheme of Delegation.
Why do schools want to become an academy?
By becoming an academy, it could benefit the children in a school now and in the future, enhance the educational provision in the community and help a school become/remain an outstanding school. A school must become an academy in order be part of a multi-academy trust.
What about LA services?
Schools already have freedom to purchase services such as HR and Finance from Schools’ Choice or other providers. Being part of the MAT widens this horizon but within a secure and transparent framework that releases the Headteachers, governors and staff of individual schools to concentrate more clearly on the core business of teaching and learning.
Some services, such as school transport, oversight of the provision of school places, co-ordination of admissions at age 5 and Fair Access Protocols, are retained as a statutory responsibility by the LA.
How will SEN funding work?
Special needs remains the responsibility of the Local Authority so the LA is obliged to deliver the same levels of support to academies as they do to Local Authority maintained schools. This includes access to high tariff needs funding as well as access to specialist provision via the same systems and procedures that maintained schools are subject to.
Will staff still be employed by theschool or will staff contracts be with the MAT if our school converts and becomes a MAT academy?
The conversion to MAT status will involve a transfer of staff under TUPE. If your school joins the MAT, it will become the employer of the staff and all staff contracts will be with the MAT.
What is the situation regarding teacher and support staff pensions once our school becomes an academy?
Teachers working in an academy fall within the scope of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS), just as if they were employed in a Local Authority maintained school. Staff transferring from a maintained predecessor would simply continue their membership of the Scheme. As the employer, the MAT would be responsible for remitting contributions to the TPS and for all other administrative responsibilities that fall to employers who employ teachers who are subject to the teachers’ pensions regulations.
The MAT will also ensure that the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) arrangements stay in place for non-teaching staff. As part of the conversion process, the LGPS scheme’s administrators will undertake an actuarial assessment to determine how much the MAT will need to contribute and the terms of that contribution. This may be higher than at present. In short, your school’s staff will not see any impact on their pensions because of the conversion to academy status. The MAT’s funding agreement requires it to ensure that all staff employed by it have access to the TPS or the LGPS (as applicable).
What about continuous service?
All previous service will count as continuous service when a member of staff transfers to the MAT.
What would be the timescale and process for conversion?
The DfE estimates that it usually takes between 4-5 months for a school to convert to an academy. Conversion can take place at any time during the year from the 1st of a month. Should your school decide to join The Crompton House MAT, we would work closely with your school through the conversion process, providing project management support to make the conversion process as seamless as possible for your school and keeping any additional work to an absolute minimum.
What would happen to the ownership of our school land and buildings if our school converted to an academy?
As the property and the grounds and playing fields are held by the Local Authority its is likely that a long lease (125 years) based on the DfE model lease would be granted by the Local Authority to the MAT.
How would admission arrangements change once our school becomes an academy within the MAT?
The MAT becomes the Admissions Authority for the academy. As far as the administration of admissions is concerned, academies will find themselves in the same position as maintained schools are currently. For the main September intake, the LA continues to co-ordinate the process. All applications are received by them. For mid-year applications academies undertake all the administration themselves.