Agenda item


Presentation by Rob Hosley, Asset Management


In accordance with Minute No. 18 of the previous meeting, Rob Holsey, CYPS Asset Manager, gave the following powerpoint presentation on academies:-



-                   Academies were state funded schools that were independent from local authorities

-                   Academy status was granted by the Learning and Skills Act 2000

-                   The Academy Act 2010 allowed all maintained schools to convert to Academy status

-                   The Council had a legal obligation to facilitate the conversion process


Types of Academies

-                   Sponsored Academies – these had sponsors such as businesses, universities, other schools, faith groups or voluntary groups.  Most but not all sponsored Academies were previously underperforming schools that became Academies in order to improve their performance

-                   Converter Academies – these did not have sponsors and were schools previously assessed as “performing well” that had converted to Academy status


Rotherham Academies

-                   There were 119 schools of which 84 (70%) had converted to Academy status divided as follows:-


65 Primary

14 Secondary

4 Special

1 Through School

A further 8 schools were in the process of converting to Academy status


Multi-Academy Trust (MAT)

-                   A MAT was a group of schools in partnership with each other often, but not always, because they were geographically close to one another.  There were 20 MATs in Rotherham

-                   A MAT was run on business lines.  They were given funding from the Government but then had to make all the decisions themselves about how the money was spent and how to balance the books


The Academy Process

-                   The Secretary of State for Education makes an Academy Order.  There were a number of legal documents that needed to be agreed:-


Commercial Transfer Agreement – this document dealt with employment issues, live contracts and other liabilities and benefits


Lease – the Council leased the school site to the Academy Trust for 125 years


-                   The process can take between 3 to 6 months and up to a year for a PFI school


Benefits of Academies

-                   Proponents argue that Academies drive up educational standards in disadvantaged areas by allowing external investment above the means of cash strapped local authorities giving Head Teachers larger budgets and more opportunities

-                   For many the attraction “is the autonomy that Academy status brings”.  Unlike traditional state schools, Academies can set their own term times and did not have to follow the national curriculum as long as they offered a “balanced and broadly based” range of subjects including English, Mathematics and Science


Disadvantages of Academies

-                   Research by the Education Policy Institute concluded that turning schools into Academies did not automatically improve standards with primary and secondary schools in some Academy groups among the worst performing in the country

-                   Detractors say the rights of parents to choose the type of school they want their children was also weakened by the Academy system

-                   Local authorities’ ability to fulfil their statutory responsibility including their duty to provide schools places was “undermined” in areas where a high proportion of schools had become Academies


Discussion ensued with the following issues raised and clarified:-


·                    When an Academy took over a school they had to continue using it for that purpose.  They effectively became a private company operating a school and leased the land for 125 years.  If they wished to make structural alterations they had to notify the local authority as leaseholder

·                    Many MATs had moved away from purchasing local authority services

·                    If a school was a Federated/Co-operative Trust by law the land had to be transferred over to the Trust

·                    If a site had not been used for educational purposes for more than 10 years then it could be developed.  Anything under 10 years had to be submitted to the Secretary of State for Section 77 approval

·                    Sport England was very clear that if a Trust wanted to develop on a playingfield a suitable space had to be provided elsewhere

·                    When converting to an Academy, the DfE gave the school concerned a £25,000 contribution towards the legal costs, changes to notice boards, uniforms etc.  If a PFI school, they received up to £40-50,000 to aid the conversion process

·                    The local authority could not insist a school paid a contribution of their funding to pay for the legal costs involved in a conversion

·                    If a school was failing it was directed to become an Academy


Rob was thanked for his very informative presentation.


Agreed:-  That the presentation be noted.