FAQs for Parents

If your child's school is considering becoming an academy within our MAT you may have some questions about what that entails and what it means for your child's education. Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions. If you are a parent and you do not find the answer you are looking for here, please email us at mat@cofesuffolk.org

What is an academy?

An academy is a publicly funded independent school that provides free education to local students. 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 students of all abilities.

What benefits can an academy bring?

As well as providing the best opportunities for the most able students and those needing additional support, academies have a key part to play in the regeneration of communities and raising standards through innovative approaches to management, governance, teaching and the curriculum.

As an individual academy there is freedom for the Headteacher and governing body to decide how it is run, how money is budgeted, how staff are paid and how the curriculum is delivered to the pupils ensuring that specific needs of the pupils are met.

How do we know they will work?

Secondary academies have shown an improvement already with GCSE results increasing an average of 11.5 percentage points – double the national average – on 5 A*-C grades. At primary level there are also encouraging improvements in both pupil attainment and progress.

How are academies managed?

They are run by an appointed Headteacher and senior leadership team, all of whom are supported by a governing body. This body is selected by a trust, which has strategic oversight of the academies.

What happens to my children at a school wishing to become an academy?

Pupils in such a position will transfer with the school to the academy without any need for them or their parents to do anything.

Will a proposed new academy have a new name or lose its individuality?

We recognise that schools have their own unique identity, and we want to celebrate this. We see this as a key benefit of being part of our MAT. There is currently no expectation that your school’s uniform, name or its distinctiveness would be altered as a result of your school’s conversion, other than losing the term Voluntary Aided or Controlled. If your school is a church school and it converts to an academy it will automatically retain its religious designation.

How will an academy raise achievement?

The running of the academy will be based on the belief that everybody can achieve and that learning should be both exciting and challenging. A high quality of leadership, providing staff and students with a brand new learning environment and a whole range of initiatives to support teachers, pupils and their families will be used in order to increase achievement.

Furthermore, in order to improve on the school’s existing successes, the curriculum will be followed within which the staff can create a personalised programme for each student providing opportunities for everyone to achieve.

How will an academy respond to children with special needs or those who are talented or gifted?

The academy will recognise that each child is different but has the right to be included as a valued, respected and equal member of the learning community. Therefore the academy will work within the framework of the Local Authority's SEN policies to help them where they can.

How is an academy funded and does this improve on current funding arrangements?

Academies receive the same level of per-pupil funding as maintained schools, plus funding to meet additional responsibilities that are no longer provided for them by the local authority. Headteachers and governors in academies have greater freedom over how they use these budgets to best benefit their students.

The MAT will be looking at how all the funding available to the school is used, including that previously retained by the local authority. The MAT will be seeking to find efficiencies that allow for more resources to be made available to the academy.

How will admissions work?

Parents will apply to the Local Authority for a place at a school in the usual way.

Who would own an academy building and site?

For church schools, the land and buildings remain with the site trustees, usually the Diocese. The playing fields are typically held by the Local Authority and a long lease (125 years) based on the DfE model lease would be granted by the Local Authority to the MAT.

How will parents be represented on the governing body?

At least one elected parent governor will be on the governing body - as now.

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