The Forge Academy Conversion 2022
As you may already be aware, the governing body of the Forge has applied to become an academy under the Academies Act 2010. The governing body is now consulting on whether the school’s academy conversion should take place. Further information about what becoming an academy means, and how to comment on the proposals, is set out below.
Will The Forge definitely become an academy?
The governing body has submitted an application to convert to academy status and is working towards a conversion in July 2022. However, the school is not obligated to become an academy until the contract between the academy trust and the Department for Education (known as the Funding Agreement) is signed.
The academy trust will not sign the Funding Agreement until parents and carers of pupils at the school, staff at the school, and pupils themselves have had the opportunity to comment on whether the school should become an academy. We will write to all parents and carers and invite them to a meeting at The Forge, to learn more about the proposals to become an academy, or to comment on the proposals.
We have held meetings with staff in the past and will have more meetings during the spring term 2022, and will be keeping pupils informed throughout the process.
Any comments or representations which are made about the proposals will be considered by the governing body before a decision is taken to sign the Funding Agreement. Details of how to provide comments and representations are set out below.
The academy trust will not sign the Funding Agreement unless they are content that conversion would be in the best interests of the school taking account of all of the legal and practical ramifications.
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.
Previously academies have tended to replace schools which have poor results or otherwise needed to improve. Under the Academies Act 2010, all schools are able to become academies. As The Forge is a good school we can apply without being part of a group of schools, and without a sponsor, but have chosen to join The Central Learning Partnership Trust.
What are the benefits of being an academy?
- 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 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?
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 Worcestershire County Council 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 The Forge change?
We do not intend to change The Forge except in ways which we think will improve the school even more. For students, 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, however, we do not intend to take any such steps at this stage and 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?
A meeting will be held at the school before the end of March 2022, details will follow. We would encourage you to attend if you have any questions, or simply want to learn 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, and cannot attend the meeting please email Mr S Williams who will try to assist.
How can I make representations?
To respond to this consultation on whether the school’s conversion to academy status should take place, representations can be made in writing to:
Mr. Sean Williams
The Forge, 215 Easemore Road, Redditch, B98 8HF
Or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date for representations to be made will be confirmed in our next communication with you.
Mr S Williams