FAQs



1. Is ODST a charity?
ODST is a company incorporated in England and Wales, limited by guarantee with Registered Company number 8143249.  It is an exempt charity.

2. What is done with any surplus budget that the school may bring into the trust?
Any revenue surplus remains with the school, and is credited directly to their bank account by the LA after conversion. 

3. What happens about admissions?
Academies become their own admissions authority and we will give guidance to schools about this.  The Oxford Diocesan Board of Education runs regular training sessions for schools to update and inform them about appeals and admission policy and practice and is always happy to help.

4. What are the expected changes to the Governing Body?
ODST have a central board of directors which is responsible to the Secretary of State for overall standards for each school in ODST.  A local governing body will also be established which will be responsible for the day-to-day operational matters.
 
5. Becoming an academy will require a strong and effective Governing Body. How will we find the governors with the necessary skills, experience and time? 
Being part of ODST means that the board of directors will have the necessary range of skills required at Board level.  The Local Governing Body does not take on the additional requirements under the Companies Act and therefore governors will be sought as before with the necessary skills from the local community and will have delegated responsibility for their particular school.
 
6. Will academies be free from Ofsted inspections?
Academies remain subject to the Government’s inspection arrangements.
 
7. What will happen to local links and partnerships that already exist?
Joining ODST does not preclude a school from being part of a local partnership which is for the benefit of the school.

8. In summary what are the main differences between an academy and a maintained school?
These are set out in the table below:

 
Curriculum Academy Maintained
Content Exempt from following the National Curriculum
Must teach certain subjects such as Maths, English, Science and RE
Must be ‘broad’ and ‘balanced’
Must follow the National Curriculum
Assessments Required to assess pupils at all key stages
in accordance with funding agreement
Pupils must be assessed at all key stages
Teaching Hours Free to change day and term lengths Lengthy consultation process to change the school day
Specialised Programmes Must establish clear SEN policy within
SEN/Vulnerable Children policy guidelines
Must follow code of practice
Outcomes Monitored by Ofsted; must meet national floor targets Monitored by Ofsted; must meet national floor targets
PUPILS
Admissions Set by school after local consultation and following the Admissions code Set by the LA after local consultation and following the Admissions code
FINANCES
Source of revenue and disbursement Public–funding disbursed directly by formula calculated by the DfE Public–funding disbursed directly by LA
Revenue per pupil Comparable to state schools in the local area Varies by LA
Allocation Schools free to allocate funds received.  ODST retains a percentage for central services Schools free to allocate funds received.  LA retains a percentage for central services
HR MANAGEMENT
Teacher Selection Criteria ODST require QTS status QTS required
Performance Incentives Free to set up own pay and conditions Follow national pay and conditions
Performance Management Free to evaluate and manage performance as required (subject to TUPE restrictions) Performed by LA
GOVERNANCE
Ownership of Physical Assets Charitable trusts and existing owners LA / existing owners
Decision making and fiscal responsibility MAT Directors/Governing Body Trustees/Governing Body
Involvement of private sector Able to sub-contract elements of running and management of the school to other private sector organisations Able to sub-contract elements of running and management of the school to other private sector organisations
ACCOUNTABILITY
Reporting requirements Monitored through ODST Monitored by LA
Public transparency All results made publicly available All results made publicly available
 
9. Why is the number of Academies increasing?.
Academies were initially opened in 2002, but the Academies Act 2010 enabled all outstanding schools to apply to become an academy.  Since April 2011 the programme has been expanded so that all schools performing well could convert, together with those that needed to convert with an external sponsor or in partnership with another school/Trust

10. How long does it take for a school to become an Academy?
 It varies, but it is expected that most schools are able to convert to academy status in around five months.
 
11. Do schools need to consult before converting?
 Yes. All schools are required to carry out a consultation process but it is up to each school to decide whom and how to consult. There is no legally specified length of time for the consultation and schools have flexibility in how it is conducted. Typically consultation is with parents, staff, local schools and the local community.
 
12. How do you consult with stakeholders?
 Informal consultation can begin through school newsletters and staff meetings.  Formal consultation takes place in the context of a parents’ evening to answer any questions.  The Governing Body will then take a vote on Academy status at their following meeting and they will inform all stakeholders of the decision after then.


 
13. Will the school be able to set its own curriculum?
Academies are able to offer a more flexible curriculum but they are required to provide a ‘balanced and broadly based curriculum’. The teaching of English, Maths and Science remains central and RE is important. 
 
14. What would happen to SEN provision?
The same support continues for pupils with a statement of special educational needs and the funding for this element continues to be provided by the LA. The LA retains its responsibility for statutory duties, obligations and procedures remain in place when a school converts to academy status.

15. What happens to the staff?
All staff employed by the school are entitled to transfer under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006), to the Academy.

16. Can academies alter the pay and conditions of employees?
When a school converts to a new academy, employees are entitled to transfer on the same terms and conditions of employment.  The legalities of the process are covered by TUPE. In summary staff maintain existing pay, conditions and length of service and any alterations can only be made as they would have been by the Council (for example, changes to pay and annual leave negotiated with employee representatives).

17. How are academies funded?
Academies receive the same level of per-pupil funding as maintained schools receive from the LA, plus additions to cover the services that are no longer provided for them by the local authority.  Academies have greater freedom over how they use their budgets to best benefit their pupils.

18. How will insurance be arranged for the school?
ODST will ensure that the necessary insurance is in place through the approved insurance framework.

19. Will existing financial systems be retained?
ODST has their preferred financial software.
 
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