What is an Academy?
Academies are publicly funded independent schools. They are-all ability schools often established by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups working with partners from the local community. Academies provide a teaching and learning environment that is in line with the best in the maintained sector and offer a broad and balanced curriculum to pupils of all abilities. As well as providing the best opportunities for the most able pupils and those needing additional support, academies have a key part to play in the regeneration of disadvantaged communities.
You can find out more about Academies on the Department for Education’s website www.dfe.gov.uk
Is the Academy still be accountable to the Local Authority?
No, Academies are independent of the local authority and the Academy reports to the Department for Education. For multi-Academy trusts, such as AAT, each Academy within the Trust has an individual governing body in this case known as a Local School Board.
Who runs an Academy?
The academy trust (in this case, AAT), governing body (where part of a multi-Academy trust) and the Headteacher have responsibility for managing the Academy. In order to determine the ethos and leadership of the Academy, and ensure clear responsibility and accountability, the sponsor (in this case AET) appoints the majority of the governors. The number of governors on an Academy governing body is not prescribed, but the expectation is for the body to be relatively small.
How are Academies accountable?
The academy trust is accountable to the Department for Education through the requirements of the Funding Agreement. The Funding Agreement requires the academy trust to publish proceedings of its meetings. As charitable companies, academy trusts have to ensure that their accounts are independently audited and then the accounts filed with the Education Funding Agency (part of the Department for Education) and at Companies House. The Department for Education want academies to be at the heart of their communities, and expect them to be established in consultation with local stakeholders. Academies are still subject to the same OFSTED inspection arrangements as other state-maintained schools.
What is different about Academy governance?
Academy trusts are set up as charitable companies independent of local authorities to give them a broader scope and responsibility for ethos, strategic direction and challenge in order to raise and maintain high standards of education. They are governed by a board of directors and in the case of multi Academy trusts there is also a governing body for each Academy.
Who sits on an Academy’s governing body?
Like other state-funded schools, Academies also have stakeholder governance. They all have parent representation and the Academy Headteacher in an ex-officio capacity. Academies may also have staff governors (either elected or appointed) and may include community representatives. The academy trust has a duty to act in the interests of the Academy and not the sponsors.
Why AET (set up by Mosaica Education) as the sponsor?
As a proven leader in educational innovation and delivery in the US for 15 years and with a growing international portfolio, Mosaica is keen to establish a platform in England in order to demonstrate the educational impact of marrying the best in English and American education. That is why it has set up AET and AAT to operate the academies.
What is different about the Academy?
The main differences include:
- More opportunities – to make sure every student achieves the very best that they can, Aurora Academies Trust’s focus would be on working with the Academy’s senior leaders and teachers to raise achievement through the curriculum innovation, online assessment programmes, increased attendance and individualised paths for personal growth and development.
- More choice – the proposed Academy’s partnership with other primary Academies within Aurora Academies Trust as well as with Mosaica Education schools internationally, means the school would be able to share resources and experiences. The Academies would be working with partners both locally and internationally, meaning that pupils would enjoy a wider range of learning and leisure experiences at school.
- Improved teaching and learning – Aurora Academies Trust look at how things can be done differently and better. They willconcentrate on improving standards throughout the school at a rapid pace, and improve the quality of teaching and learning through the introduction of a comprehensive staff training programme and online assessment.
Furthermore the new Academy will:
- Raise aspirations – through the introduction of a new philosophy and ethos, based on Mosaica Education’s proven philosophy used internationally, to bring educational improvements to schools, pupils and communities worldwide. All pupils have individualised paths for personal growth and development, with a focus on pupil self-awareness and self-esteem.
- Increase Parent engagement and involvement – regular community events are held where parents and other members of the local community are invited to see what the children have been learning, chat with staff and become more engaged in their child’s education..
Would the uniform change?
Aurora Academies Trust currently has no intentions to change the uniform or current school logo and branding.
Does the Academy follow the National Curriculum?
Yes, the Academy’s core curriculum follows the National Curriculum.
What about collaboration with other schools?
As well as transforming the life chances of pupils enrolled in them, Academies can help drive system-wide improvements through collaboration with other schools. Many established Academies have developed positive links with schools in their area and are keen to offer support to them, or to learn from them. Aurora Academies Trust’s expectation is that the Academy would work collaboratively with neighbouring nurseries and children’s centres, primary, secondary and special schools. King Offa School is an active member of the local primary school cluster and Aurora Academies Trust will continue to participate in this partnership along with Glenleigh Park Academy.
Does the Academy select children according to their ability?
No – the Academy is a comprehensive and inclusive school, open to pupils of all abilities. Academies are not allowed to select children by their academic ability. The Academy would retain the same admission arrangements to those which apply to all maintained community schools in East Sussex.
What about children with SEN?
Academies must adhere to the SEN code of practice and statutory guidance on inclusion. An Academy’s independent status does not affect parents’ rights to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability).
Do Academies receive more money than local authority schools?
Academies receive the same level of per-pupil funding as they would receive from the local authority as a maintained school, plus additions to cover the services that are no longer provided for them by the local authority. However, Academies have greater freedom over how they use their budgets to best benefit their pupils. Academies receive their funding directly from the Education Funding Agency (EFA – part of the Department for Education) rather than from local authorities.
Do parents have to pay towards the cost of education at the Academy?
No – Academies receive their funding directly from the Department for Education and are funded at a similar level to other maintained schools, so that parents and carers do not have to pay for their children to attend. Academies are allowed to charge for certain activities (such as school trips) in exactly the same ways as maintained school.
Are free school meals available?
Yes – all pupils that are eligible for free school meals still have that entitlement.