Academy Status Consultation Letter

Highwood Primary School
Mead Way, Bushey, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD23 2AW
Tel: 01923 484650 Fax: 01923 484653 E-mail: [email protected]
Della Allen - Head Teacher
Tuesday 6th January 2015
Dear Parents and Carers,
We wish to inform you that the governing body made an application for permission to
convert Highwood to an academy trust under the Academies Act 2010, and that this
application has been successful.
This application has been made on the basis that Highwood would convert as an
individual academy trust with our own Funding Agreement as a result of our
continued programme of improvement and strong position. However, as part of the
application, Highwood Primary School and Parmiter's School have mutually reached
agreement that they will work together to form an overarching umbrella trust in order
to share governance, procurement of services, skills and expertise and establish a
joint vision.
Based on the above, the structure would look like this:
As our application has been successful, we have been issued with an 'Academy
Order', which means that the Department for Education (DfE) has carried out due
diligence and is willing to permit us to convert, if we wish to do so.
Highwood Primary School
Mead Way, Bushey, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD23 2AW
Tel: 01923 484650 Fax: 01923 484653 E-mail: [email protected]
Della Allen - Head Teacher
Although, the decision to convert to an academy resides with the governing body, we
are keen to consider the views of parents/carers and staff. With that in mind, we
have set out some key information, below:
What is an academy?
An academy is essentially an independent school which is funded by the state.
It is independent of the local authority and receives its funding direct from
central government.
Previously academies have tended to replace schools which have poor results
or need to improve. As Highwood is a 'good' school we can apply without being
part of a group of schools and without being sponsored but we have chosen to
form a working partnership, under an umbrella trust, with Parmiter's School.
Why have we agreed to form an umbrella trust with Parmiter's School?
This partnership would align us to a highly successful school, held in high
regard by the local community. The Headteacher, senior leaders and governors
of both schools have met on several occasions and agree there will be
numerous mutual benefits.
We are in the process of developing a joint agreement around how the
partnership would work in detail but we would hope to benefit from targeted
support, strengthening teachers' skills, knowledge and expertise to ensure our
pupils receive the very best education possible. Parmiter's could also support
enrichment with our new curriculum and middle leaders could develop skills and
knowledge through partnership work.
We would aim to become part of The Teaching Schools Alliance working to
support student teachers in their career development. We would also be able to
financially benefit from shared procurement and training.
It is important to note that the Parmiter's highly selective admissions criteria is
not expected to change specifically in respect of Highwood pupils. Highwood
pupils will be at no additional advantage when seeking admission to Parmiter's
School under the umbrella trust.
Highwood Primary School
Mead Way, Bushey, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD23 2AW
Tel: 01923 484650 Fax: 01923 484653 E-mail: [email protected]
Della Allen - Head Teacher
What are the benefits of being an academy?
Academies are independent of local authority control - this means
we would have more freedom in how we conduct ourselves.
Academies receive their funding direct from local government this means we would receive more funding because none of it is
retained by the local authority for the provision of central services.
Academies have more freedom over the curriculum - this means we
would not be obliged to teach parts of the National Curriculum that we
do not consider appropriate for our pupils.
Academies can set their own pay and conditions for staff - this
means we can alter pay and conditions of staff (subject to normal
employment law) and have the freedom to provide staff with better pay
and conditions than previously.
Academies have freedom to set their admission arrangements this means we would have the freedom to offer places in accordance
with our own admission arrangements (we would still be bound by the
national admissions code).
Are there any disadvantages to becoming an academy?
As an academy we would be directly liable for matters such as insurance,
employment liabilities, pensions, health and safety and property maintenance.
However, academies receive funding from central government to help them
meet these additional costs.
What WILL NOT change if we become an academy?
We would retain, protect and enhance the ethos of the school.
There are no plans to change our Highwood name, uniform or logo.
There are no plans to change our admission criteria.
There are no plans to negatively alter the pay and conditions of staff.
Highwood Primary School
Mead Way, Bushey, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD23 2AW
Tel: 01923 484650 Fax: 01923 484653 E-mail: [email protected]
Della Allen - Head Teacher
Further details about academies are
Although we are working towards conversion to academy status on 1 April 2015 (this
may need to be delayed until 1 June 2015 due to the general election), we are not
obliged to become an academy until the contract between the academy trust and the
DfE (known as the Funding Agreement) is signed.
The governing body has not yet begun to negotiate the Funding Agreement with the
DfE and will not make a final decision to sign the Funding Agreement until parents,
carers and staff have had the opportunity to make representations or comment on
our plans. The governing body encourage you to engage in the consultation process
by asking questions, giving your views or making representations regarding our plans
to convert to an academy, on the terms outlined within this letter.
We therefore invite you to provide any comments or representations through a
dedicated email that has been set up for the consultation:
[email protected]
In addition, a meeting will take place on 3rd February at 3pm for you to ask
questions, learn more about the proposals, give your views or make representations.
Please note, the closing date for comments or representations will be Monday
2nd March, 2015.
Once the governing body has had sufficient time to consider comments and any
representations made, we will make our final decision. Please be assured that we
will not proceed unless we are confident that the conversion would be in the best
interest of the school, taking account of all the legal and practical ramifications.
Yours sincerely,
Claire Horn
Chair of Governors