1. What does “acdemisation” exactly mean?
Academies are schools that are state-funded and state-governed but are not under the direct control of the Local Authority (LA) and so have more independence over what they teach, how they operate and how they spend their budget. All academies are charities and therefore are entirely non-profit making.
A MAC is a group of two or more academy schools working in a legally agreed formal collaboration called a Multi-Academy Company. The MAC is the legal employer for all staff and determines a number of common practices and procedures across the MAC, whilst still encouraging each academy to have its own individual identity. The MAC is run by a Catholic Senior Executive Leader (CSEL/CEO) with a Headteacher or Head of School in each member academy. The CSEL/CEO is held responsible by the Board of Directors.
2. What are the benefits of academisation?
There are many benefits to academisation for the school and for the multi academy. The staff will have greater opportunities which will support their development and staffing retention. The school leaders and staff will be part of a community of Catholic schools which support each other in the sharing of good practices which will strengthen the teaching and learning of the children. The children are at the heart of the school and the multi academy they will benefit from enhanced teaching and learning, a diverse curriculum, extracurricular opportunities, access to shared resources and improved transition to secondary. Due to the size of the multi academy additional grant funding is received for capital projects which are directly invested into improving the school sites.
3. Why join with Our Lady of the Magnificat Multi-Academy Company and not any of the other academies?
St. Anthony’s are only permitted to join a catholic multi academy. As part of the Diocesan Academy agenda the Our Lady of the Magnificat multi academy will be welcoming 12 Catholic primary schools from the Rugby, Leamington, and surrounding areas. St. Anthony’s has been identified as one of the 12 schools and already has strong partnership links with the primaries and the multi academy. The multi academy has been supporting the school with business and facilities management support and has built a good relationship with the school. The multi academy is considered to be a strong and supportive academy which has children and the promotion and vision of Catholic education at the heart. The values and mission echo that of the school, both the multi academy and the school will be strengthen by this partnership.
4. What are the potential downsides? (and don't say there aren't any!)
There is a greater risk to the school if it remained as a single entity, it would become isolated. The Archdiocese agenda is for all Catholic schools to be part of a multi academy. This reflects the governments educational agenda. The school has an opportunity to join a multi academy which has the same vision to provide a Catholic education to all children. With any change there will be a period of transition and embedment where the school and multi academy leaders will work collectively to harmonise.
5. What is the problem you are trying to solve?
In June 2021, the Archbishop, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley wrote requesting every Catholic Voluntary Aided school under the Trust Deed of the Archdiocese of Birmingham joined a multi academy company of Catholic Schools by September 2022 or were to be in the process of doing so.
The Governing body of St. Anthony’s have voted in favour of initiating the consultation with our key stakeholder and submitting an application for an academy order to convert the school to an academy and join the Our Lady of the Magnificat Multi Academy.
The Our Lady of the Magnificat has been identified as a strong multi-academy, being part of the multi academy will strengthen links with Trinity Catholic School and other Catholic Primary schools.
6. Will the school retain its caring Catholic ethos especially around the Catholic education the children have always received? Will the delivery of the TenTen resources be retained as the way of delivering RHE?
In joining the multi academy the Catholic ethos can only be strengthened. The multi academy is a group of Catholic schools here to serve the community and provided children with a Catholic education. The school will have the decision on which resources are used to deliver the schools curriculum however TenTen is widely used across the multi academy schools therefore will probably continue unless the school leadership decides not to.
7. Will St. Anthony's retain its current staff including the leadership team and curriculum delivery?
It is expected the current staff and leadership will remain however it is the decision of the individual if they wish to not transfer to the multi academy or consider roles at other schools.
The school leadership are best equipped to understand the curriculum and the delivery for the needs of the children. The multi academy will support where required with specialist teachers and the school will be able to share their specialism across the multi academy schools.
8. What is the practical impact on how the school operates and the day-to-day experiences of children? What will change?
There will be minimal change on the day-to-day experience of the children, the school identity will not change, and they will be familiar with the surroundings and staff. Through out the academic year the children will be able to participate in multi academy wide initiatives such as Sports events, musical performances, trips and much more. Over time the children will begin to feel they are part of something bigger and identify with their journey through Catholic education.
The school will be able to take advantage of multi academy wide resources which will support the teaching and learning. With the sharing of good practices, the teaching will continue to strengthen and support the learning of each child.
9. Will the school governance remain the same?
The school Local Governing Body will remain and are best fit to support the local community. There is an additional level of governance provided by the Board of Directors who are responsible to the Trustees and the Secretary of State for Education. The Board delegates operational leadership of the multi academy to the Catholic Senior Executive Leader CSEL/CEO.
1. On what basis is the government funding allocated between schools within the Academy? Is there a funding bias towards underperforming member schools to raise their performance? Is it allocated on a per pupil basis?
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) provides delegated funding to all academies based on the funding formula. The funding is received by the multi-academy who must provide regular financial returns to the ESFA and is externally audited annually. The multi academy monitors and reports on the financial performance of each school. Like the Local Authority the multi-academy retains a percentage to cover costs of centrally provided services. The multi-academy can pool funds and delegate to areas of need if required this would not be done to negatively impact another school. Due to the size of the multi academy additional annual grant funding is received for example School Condition Allocation (SCA)
2. The only financial information that we have access to as parents is dated August 2020. Since then, many more schools have joined, and the financial position is likely to have changed. Will the 2021 financial accounts of the Multi-Academy be provided (year ending 31st August 2021)?
The multi-academies accounts ending the 31st August 2021 are available from the multi-academy website www.magnificat.org.uk The multi-academy financial year is aligned with the academic year 1st September – 31st August. The multi-academy is required to publish the annual accounts on the website by the 31st December, this date has been amended due to Covid for the last two year and to file accounts at Companies House by the 31st May.
3. How is Special Needs Education additional funding allocated by the Multi-Academy to individual schools? Is there a lift in authority funding to the Academy for SEN students? Are there protections on this funding to ensure that it is allocated fairly to individual schools on the basis of their percentage of SEN students relative to other Academy member schools?
Funding for Special Educational Needs is allocated directly to the school it has been granted to. The school SENCO will continue to work with the Local Authority and other agencies to maximise the funding available. The SENCO’s work together across the multi-academy taking advantage of shared resources and peer to peer support.
4. What would be St Anthony's immediate position in the event of bankruptcy of the parent company? Is emergency funding made available?
The Our Lady of the Magnificat Multi-Academy is not run by a large business organisation. The Multi-Academy is a registered company that is part of the Birmingham Diocesan Trust who are the Trustees. The maintained school will close, and the academy will open at the point of conversion. The group of schools make the multi-academy company. The Catholic Senior Executive Leader CSEL/CEO is held responsibly by the board of directors who are appointed by the Bishop. The CSEL is responsible for the financial management of the multi-academy and each school. They will work with the school leadership teams to ensure the financial viability of the schools.