Aurora Academy FAQs
Education Provision/School Improvement
1. Can you explain the curriculum that you are employing?
Aurora Academies Trust (AAT) recognises that the curriculum needs improving and further developing, through partnership with teachers and school leadership teams at each school. AAT will provide a curriculum that is data driven and which incorporates a child-centred approach. This will be supported by a Continued Professional Development programme that is tailored to meet the needs of all the staff so that they may teach to optimum effect.
2. Will you still be inspected by Ofsted?
Yes, the School is still fully accountable to Ofsted.
3. What will happen to the Nursery provision?
The existing level of Nursery provision will continue as before once the Academies have opened.
4. What will be done differently to ensure continued and rapid improvement at the schools?
AAT will be building on current best practice and focussing on what can be done further to benefit the pupils as this is the reason for being here. AAT will have a single-minded focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning to achieve its objectives, but staff will be responsible for improvement too. AAT believe that staff’s professional development is key to improving all of the schools and will support this as a priority.
5. In Mosaica and Aurora Academies Trust’s materials there is a lot of talk about preparing children for university and the world of work. Will this be the focus of teaching and learning to the detriment of other, more creative endeavours?
Absolutely not. AAT will focus on providing a child-focused environment which will both ensure that key skills – such as mathematics and literacy skills – are accessed by all pupils, but also that the creative side of children is nurtured and supported. The curriculum and learning experience will be global, rich and varied with breadth and balance across subjects.
6. Will school hours and term dates change?
No. The hours and term dates for 2012-13 remain the same.
7. It feels as though the consultation process is a foregone conclusion and there has not been significant consultation up until this point in time. Why is this the case?
The consultation process is a genuine consultation and is a statutory requirement through the Academies Act 2010. The process will result in a formal report which will display all responses to questionnaires and will report on consultation events. The report will be considered by the Department for Education (DfE) before the Secretary of State gives the approval to continue to open the Academies in September.
It was only possible to commence consultation once the formal order had been given by the DfE that these schools could commence to the next stage of becoming an academy. The first action of the project team once the project started was to set up a consultation process, including producing websites, leaflets, letters, press ads and arranging events. Future surgery style events have also been planned.
However, a letter was also sent out by the Chair of Governors for each School in November 2011 indicating that the schools had all been ear-marked for Academy conversion.
Anyone with concerns, queries or messages of support for the proposals is strongly encouraged to either fill out questionnaires available from the school reception desks or on the consultation websites.
8. Will we be able to have further consultation/conversations in 6months to 3 years to hold you accountable to the Schools’ results?
Yes, all parties at both the schools and AAT are very happy to do so.
9. Will the Academy cause any further cost to parents?
There will no financial cost to parents. Provision will be free of charge.
10. Will there be funding for SEN provision?
SEN funding will be provided on the same level and in the same way as it has been in the past.
11. Is Aurora Academies Trust a profit making company?
No. Profit making companies are not able to run academy schools and no profit can be made from the operation of academy schools. AAT is a not for profit organisation.
12. Will admissions change for September 2012?
No, all children admitted to the Primary Schools for September 2012 will automatically receive a place at the academy for September 2012.
13. There has been bad press relating to academies excluding children who are underperforming and being selective as to those children they accept. Please comment.
AAT will not exclude children on the basis of ability, nor will it select on this basis. Not only is this something that AAT would not support or accept, it is also not permissible under the terms of the agreement AAT would have with the Department for Education.
School Leadership and Staffing
14. What will be done to ensure that a permanent Headteacher is found for each of the Schools?
Leadership will be a key focus of AAT. It is recognised that having a stable senior leadership team in place as soon as possible is a key priority. Having said this, it is also recognised that the current Heads are offering a great quality of leadership to their schools.
15. Will there be an Executive Head acting across multiple schools?
AAT will review the needs of each school and determine a leadership structure that will best support the needs of the schools.
16. Teachers’ terms and conditions should be protected and are of the utmost importance in protecting the rights of teaching professionals. Can the Academies Trust alter terms and conditions and do they intend to?
There is no intention to make any changes to national pay, terms and conditions. As former teachers and head teachers, the Aurora Academy Trust leadership team – Tim McCarthy and Helen Kavanagh – understand the importance of safeguarding the working conditions of teaching staff.
In addition to this, Aurora fully intends to maintain the Schools’ use of the HR support offered by East Sussex County Council to ensure continuity in this area.
17. Will the schools have a new uniform?
No, the Academies will keep the exact same uniform as they would have done irrespective of the academy proposal.
18. What will be AAT’s Free School Meals policy and provision?
The academies will have the exact same Free School Meals policy and provision as the existing Primary Schools.
19. What is your approach towards Child Protection?
The Child Protection policy will continue as before in the existing Primary Schools. There will be a Child Protection Officer and a dedicated Governor with the responsibility for Child Protection.