Shortly following the coalition government’s election to power in May 2010, they announced plans to introduce greater freedoms into the educational system for headmasters, teachers, parents and even businesses to make use of their expertise to boost the number of educational opportunities available to our children. With the passing of the Academies Act in July 2010 these plans became a reality and in the autumn of 2011 the initial of the coalition’s new academies came into full operation. So it’s perhaps a great time to have a brief look at what these new schools are.
The core top features of an academy that define it therefore are that it’s a) publicly funded, b) free entry and c) independent.
The schools will remain publicly funded by central government to the exact same level per child as traditional state schools, but via the Department for Education and its Young People’s Learning Agency rather than local authorities. This implies they are still answerable to central government day care centre, however, that aside they’ve a higher degree of autonomy as they sit beyond local authority control and do not require to check out the national curriculum. Academies can therefore decide not only how and what they teach but in addition when their term times are, what their operating times are, simply how much they pay staff and how the school is structured. These freedoms are essentially characteristic of traditional fee paying independent schools but the public funding removes the barriers to the features, providing free entry to all. Despite the autonomy they’re still however subject to Ofsted inspections as a consequence to be publicity financed.
Academy status can and has been sought at any amount of the school system from primary to secondary with some schools providing a single approach right though these levels, whilst others squeeze into the prevailing frameworks in their areas with feeder and reciprocal schools much as a traditional state school.
A totally free school comes beneath the academy umbrella, however, rather than describing a current school which converts into an academy, the definition of free schools is placed on new schools which are setup by any interested party, if it be teachers, parents, charities or businesses, in confirmed area to specifically meet a particular demand for the school children because area.
Again free schools are publicly funded by central government yet sit beyond local authority and therefore have the freedom to operate outside of the national curriculum. However, they do change from academies in which they cannot, at any stage, be selective in their intake and they’re allowed to employ people who don’t posses recognised teaching qualifications to carry out their teaching.
Making the Switch
Any school can apply to convert to be an academy but only schools rated as at the least’Good with aspects of Outstanding’by Ofsted can achieve this independently. Other schools looking to use the conversion to boost their fortunes will need to enter into a partnership with a higher achieving school when applying so they can take advantage of their advice throughout the conversion.
To become free school, any interested parties will need to apply to the Department of Education through their New Schools Network who will work together throughout the process.
The introduction of academies and free schools has provided a complete new raft of opportunities and options to those in the education system and who have ideas outside of the existing constraints of the system so no doubt many schools will be interested in finding out more about how to become an academy.