- Opening of The Bishop of Winchester Academy, Bournemouth - having the courage to be wise 11 October 2010
- Official Opening of All Saints Academy Plymouth 1 October 2010
- Exam success for Church of England Academies 10 September 2010
- 8 Academies delivered by CASL open in September 2010 - on time and on budget 8 September 2010
Starting Points for Academies with Sponsors
This is the bit where there are no rules. Every academy starts somewhere different. The following looks through some of the most common starting points.
A diocese may include the creation of new academies as part of its response to the challenge of the Dearing Report. Where that is the case, DDEs will be actively looking for opportunities to convert existing VA or VC schools which meet the long-standing or new academy criteria or be seeking conversations with the LA about failing community schools that could become Church of England academies.
The call from the National Society
Because officers from the National Society meet frequently with staff from the Office of the Schools’ Commissioner, there is often a process of brokerage, which will have as its starting point a call from the National Society. That call will usually take the form of an invitation to consider a church academy in the diocese.
The call from the Local Authority
Because Local Authorities are under a duty to create a diverse and challenging range of schools, they come under pressure to think about academies as one of the ways of achieving that. Some take the initiative: others are less welcoming but see the writing on the wall. Both types are likely to want to be a part of the solution and so maintain ‘their interest’ in the local provision. Historically, government is not keen on LAs taking the lead in new academies and so the strength of the diocese’s position should be clear. You are in a position to call upon your lengthy and reliable partnership with the LA over many years in order to insist upon being the lead sponsor, which will mean that the new academy will be designated as a Church of England academy undertaken with support from CASL.
Through your links into the planning systems of your LAs, you will be made aware, from time to time, of competitions for new schools or new academies. At that stage you will need to make a judgement about whether or not you want to get involved. Competitions have a somewhat mixed reputation and are seen by some as creating a considerable amount of local tension. Doubtless their defendants would claim the same of an academy proposal!By declaring an interest in sponsoring an academy, the competition rules can be suspended which means the prospective sponsor can begin discussions with the LA and the Office of the Schools Commissioner at the DfE.